Introduction to the Eco-Schools Programme
Eco-Schools is an international initiative designed to guide schools in implementing a whole-school approach towards environmental and sustainability education. Its holistic, participatory approach and combination of learning and action make it an ideal way for schools to embark on a meaningful path for improving the environments of schools and their local communities. Currently, the programme is being implemented in over 50 countries around the world, involving more than 40,000 schools. Its adoption in Malaysia offers the promise of consolidating various environmental education efforts that are already in place in schools.
At the international level, the programme is run by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). FEE is a non-governmental and non-profit organization aiming to promote sustainable development through environmental education (including formal school education, training of staff and general awareness-raising). It is an international umbrella organisation with one national member organisation per country representing FEE on the national level and in charge of implementing FEE programmes nationally. It has 66 member organisations in 58 countries around the world.
WWF-Malaysia became an associate member of FEE in 2010. It also became the national operator for the Eco-Schools Programme in Malaysia. The implementation of the programme in Malaysia is supported by a National Eco-Schools Committee, made up of partners from the following ministries, government agencies, universities and organisations: Ministry of Education, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Department of Environment, Yayasan Anak Warisan Alam Malaysia, Natural Resources and Environment Board Sarawak, Sabah Environmental Education Network, University Malaya, University Kebangsaan Malaysia, University Sains Malaysia, Global Environment Centre, Friends of Kota Damansara, Malaysian Nature Society, and Scout for Nature.
The 7 Step Methodology
At the heart of the eco-schools programme is a 7 Step Methodology, which functions as a framework that guides schools in their path towards becoming an eco-school. The methodology also provides a certain level of uniformity in the implementation by all participating schools worldwide. The seven steps are as follows:
- Establish an eco-schools committee
- Carry out an environmental review
- Establish an action plan
- Monitor and evaluate progress of the action plan
- Link the practical initiatives based on certain environmental themes to the curriculum
- Inform and involve the wider community
- Develop an eco-code
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The 9 Themes
Eco-Schools can focus on the following environmental themes, though they are not limited to just these themes. It is expected that the themes will provide meaningful pathways to the students for improving the environment of their schools, in collaboration with stakeholders in their local communities. The themes are:
- Nature and biodiversity
- School grounds
- Transport/Sustainable mobility
- Healthy Living
- Local Agenda 21
- Climate Change
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