"Sabah Environmental Education Policy"
Sabah Environmental Education Policy (First Draft on 8th August, 2006) Chapter 1: Introduction 1.1 Environmental Education in Sabah Environmental education (EE) is a learning process in which the individual acquires skills, knowledge, awareness and values for promoting environmental conservation and sustainable environmental management. EE is, therefore, considered to be an important element in planning, procedure and actions. Nowadays, there are many sets of environmental education plans and activities in Sabah. Various organizations and agencies are involved in the implementation of those sets of plans and programs such as environmental communication, public awareness and training activities. These activities range from talks, exhibition, radio show, drawing (or coloring) competition, cleaning-up, tree planting and recycling to seminars, workshops and training. Therefore, a network of environmental network called Sabah Environmental Education Network (SEEN) was established in 2004 as a framework to strengthen the capacity of relevant stakeholders, through institutional information sharing, and promote environmental education in Sabah. SEEN is considered as one of appropriate mechanisms to facilitate environmental education in the state. Nevertheless, the current environmental education activities and coordination mechanism have not been adequate enough in obtaining coordination among government agencies and administration units at Sabah State. By enhancing the policy integrity of the state it is easy to stimulate improved institutional coordination among different sectors and governmental agencies. In order to build an effective coordination for implementing environmental education, a mechanism called “Environmental Education Policy” needs to be developed for the Sabah State Government and Administrations. Because, well-organized coordination in the context of environmental education would encompass an effective organizational structure, sound management practice and periodical monitoring and evaluation process. An environmental education policy can also show the total map and bird’s-eye view of the on-going and planned environmental education activities in the state. In the case, actors from both private and -1- public sectors should be involved in the process of developing an environmental education policy. 1.2 Definition of “Environmental Education” Environmental Education is not a new concept in Sabah State. However, it is applied differently for different purposes. In the document, by the term “Environmental Education” it implies activities or programs relating “Education, Public Awareness and Training” This concept is well explained in Chapter 36 of Agenda 21. Environmental Education cuts across all the disciplines and therefore it in linked to all sectors and approaches of education such as the formal, non-formal and in-formal education. In the process of environmental education, individuals gain awareness, communicate with others and instill in them the sense of determination which will enable them to act, individually and collectively to solve the problem and prevent it in the future. (IUCN, 1998) Chapter 2: Vision and Mission 2.1 Vision To transform Sabah into environmentally sustainable land for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management. 2.2 Mission To facilitate the effective implementation of education, public awareness and training programs for the environmental conservation and sustainable development in order for Sabah’s people to enhance, change and guide their knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours. 2.3 Policy Objectives To enable stakeholders of environmental education to manage education, public awareness and training for environmental conservation and sustainable development, the following policy objectives have been set forth. 1. To identify governmental responsibilities and tasks for conducting education, public awareness and training on biodiversity and ecosystem conservation. -2- 2. To develop new governance mechanism and draw a comprehensive bird-eye view map on environmental education in Sabah. 3. To develop/support new schemes to promote environmental education. 2.4 Formulation of the Policy Sabah Environmental Education Policy is formulated based on: 1. Chapter 36, Agenda 21 2. Convention on Biological Diversity 3. National Policy on Environment 4. National Philosophy of Education 5. National Policy on Biological Biodiversity 6. Sabah Biodiversity Enactment 7. Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment 8. Sabah Forest Enactment 9. Sabah Parks Enactment 10. Conservation of Environment Enactment 11. Sabah Education Department’s Principle, and 12. International commitments related to environmental education -3- Chapter 3: Strategies and Action Plans Strategies and plan of actions that are crucially important to achieve the policy objectives mentioned in Chapter Two are briefly presented in Table 1 below. Concrete task follows a brief description of each strategy and action. Table 1 Strategies and Action Plan Strategies Action Plan 3.1.1. Provide learning opportunities in the real life situation 3.1 Enhance the quality and quantity of EE 3.1.2. Develop/Improve/Utilize EE facilities activities 3.1.3. Strengthen the capacity of staff members 3.2.1. Collect information on the facilities and 3.2 Strengthen the existing mechanisms of activities of public and private organizations collaboration and networking 3.2.2. Strengthen the functions/activities of SEEN 3.3.1. Formulate guidelines for monitoring and 3.3 Develop methodology for assessing the evaluation total EE program 3.3.2. Adopt the system of reporting on the state of EE to the concerned 3.1 Enhance the quality and quantity of EE activities A knowledge-based environmental education program is considered to be the driving force for enhancing education, public awareness and communication. The existing program of EE is, more or less, confined to a limited target groups and places in the state. The increase in the number of activities alone is not enough to effectively promote EE. The program has to be supported by the increase in their frequencies as well; it should address all modes of education (formal, informal, non-formal and even incidental modes); it should be both field- as well as activity-based. Simultaneously, the program should be supported by a team of capable and competent staff members. 3.1.1 Provide learning opportunities in the real life situation Opportunities for learning should be provided to target groups to get exposures to new knowledge, technology and skills at all times. Every possible modes, techniques and -4- approaches (field-based, learner-based, hand-on experience etc.) should be utilized to raise their awareness. Varieties of opportunities should be provided for reinforcing in them the sense of enjoyment, love and positive values. Relevant educational materials, appropriate subject matter, suitable methodology and the right target group are crucially important in the successful transmission of knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP). For achieving this objective, the following actions are set up. i. Undertake awareness programs for various target groups using appropriate techniques ii. Organize issue-based workshop/seminar for environmental educators and facilitators iii. Incorporate issue-based approach in the school curriculum/training courses iv. Observe “EE Week” coinciding any day such as World Environment Day, World Wetlands Day, World Water Day, World Rice Day, etc. v. Emphasize the concepts of EE, ecosystem, biodiversity, sustainable development etc. in the interpretation/orientation program vi. Organize activities-based program in the facilities such as nature walk, wildlife watching, plant observation, etc. vii. Develop/disseminate educational materials appropriate to the environment of Sabah state 3.1.2. Develop/utilize/improve EE facilities Facilities such as visitor center, environmental education center, interpretation center, museum, botanical garden, zoological garden, tourist information center, theme park and etc. have been set up for public awareness by many organizations depending on their goals. They are the source of information, knowledge, wisdom and wonders; they can learn many things from a single location about the benefits, education and enjoyment from the environment; they provide inspiration and motivation for the wise use of resources. These facilities and many others serve as the best examples of environmental education. The suggested actions to achieve this objective are listed below. i. Support/encourage organizations in establishing facilities at strategic location within the premise ii. Support/encourage waste management practices together with information on guidance on reusing, recycling wise use etc. -5- iii. Promote self-learning materials such as sign board, self-explanatory poster, simple safety rules and brochure iv. Provide, as much as possible, the environment for activity-based learning for the visitors in the facilities. 3.1.3. Strengthen the capacity of staff members Abundant resources, good organizational structures and sound program are not always adequate to achieve the goal without the active supports of qualified, capable and well-motivated staff members. Motivation and will power of staff members are equally, if not the most, important All these factors would work well only when the staff members are given periodic training on new technology, knowledge and skills. The level of their commitment, enthusiasm and confidence should be maintained at all times, for which the following actions have been suggested. i. Provide short refreshing training to the staff regularly ii. Organize regularly talk, seminar or workshop for the staff iii. Send staff abroad for short course, special training or higher studies iv. Encourage the staff for the excursion or observation tour of other facilities v. Support the staff in joining professional organizations and their programs vi. Encourage the staff exchange program with the staff of other facilities vii. Provide incentives (scholarship abroad, award) to the educational staff 3.2 Strengthen the existing mechanisms of collaboration and networking Environmental education is our common concern, regardless of sectors, factors and actors we deal with. Most of them are involved directly or indirectly in EE. They have their own specialties and strengths in dealing with the issue. Bringing these unique features together is the centerpiece of collaboration and networking in EE. Optimum benefits from minimum resources and active involvement of relevant stakeholders are the main concerns of networking and collaboration. Understanding one another is the requisite for a successful networking. The intention here is to establish the database of agencies and organizations engaged in, and re-mobilize them in the promotion of, EE. 3.2.1 Collect information on the facilities and activities of public and private organizations A minimum of information is necessary to initiate any activities. In the case of -6- networking and collaboration, baseline data on the status of various agencies and organizations from all sectors (public, private and voluntary) are vitally important to strengthen the existing mechanism. Necessary data and information would be collected and maintained as database and used them as and when necessary for the promotion of EE. Major actions that are important to achieve this objective are given below. i. Prepare/update a directory of public and private organizations ii. Provide regular platform for members including publication of newsletter, e-mail, website, etc. iii. Recognize/publicize collaborative works related to EE iv. Provide incentives (logo use, sponsor, honoring etc.) for collaborative works v. Encourage mutual sharing of facilities/resources for professional activities 3.2.2 Strengthen the functions/activities of SEEN SEEN is a good example of smart partnership in the state of Sabah. The network is formed under the auspices of UST/BBEC and represents governmental agencies, the private sector and civil society. It is a platform where civil servants, executives from the public sector and representative leaders from civil society discuss issues and improve their understanding on matters related to EE. It is considered as a think-tank for promoting public awareness and communication in Sabah state. Therefore, intention here is to recognize its importance and promote its functions (through member-organizations) and thereby helping sustain symbiotic relationship among agencies and organization concerned with EE. The suggested actions are presented below. i. Support/publicize SEEN as an innovative idea of smart partnership in EE ii. Encourage other organizations to join SEEN iii. Provide special training on networking and collaboration to its members iv. Honor/recognize outstanding member organization/member on EE week v. Vitalize/upgrade the existing communication mechanism 3.3 Develop methodology for assessing the total EE program While a common goal is the nucleus for a successful partnership program, mutually acceptable processes and even procedures are its pillars. Objectives common to all stakeholders are extremely important for the collaborative implementation of EE. This objective is concerned with the process of improving the capacity to plan, implement -7- and reconsider the planning capabilities. A good methodology typifies not only our commitment and concern but also guarantee cooperation and coordination. This section focuses on M&E at the grass root level and reporting system at the national level. 3.3.1. Formulate guidelines for monitoring and evaluation (M&E) M&E is a tool that measures the effectiveness, strengths and bottlenecks of a program and sets the program on the right track. The guidelines on M&E are, therefore, essential to check activities, whether or not they are on the right course. The guidelines help us obtain good coordination and propose alternatives in the face of any unexpected challenges and risks. The proposed actions are given below. i. Designate an organization as coordinator for managing activities under 3.3.1 and 3.3.2 ii. Undertake an assessment study on public awareness at a mutually-agreed upon interval iii. Appoint a committee for the development and implementation of M&E guidelines iv. Facilitate each member in implementing the M&E guidelines 3.3.2. Adopt the system of reporting on the state of EE to the concerned The result of the EE program should be disseminated widely across the society right from the policy makers to the grass root people i.e. practitioners. A good mechanism of reporting would, not only publicize the work and diffuse the idea of EE but also receive feedbacks for the future. A good reporting system can also ensure willing, informed and responsible participation of the stakeholder in the enhancement of EE policy and plan in the state. Suggested actions for this objective are as follows. i. Prepare an annual report synthesizing M&E and other activities ii. Submit the same report to the state cabinet iii. Publish white paper on EE periodically in collaboration with stakeholders iv. Publish/disseminate evaluation reports and white paper -8- Replay Form We request you to kindly go through the Sabah EE Policy (1st draft) and send back your comments and suggestions to UST until the End of September, 2006 by letter, facsimile or e-mail. Contact Address: Science and Technology Unit, 7th Floor, Block B, Wisma MUIS 88100, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia; Fax no: 088-249410; KenKartina.Khamis@sabah.gov.my -9-