Teachers welcome environmental education workshops
APPROXIMATELY 300 teachers from 185 schools recently attended 12 workshops across the island to share their successes and try to solve some of the challenges they face in implementing the Schools’ Environment Programme (SEP). Participants included NGOs, representatives from the Ministry of Education, the Forestry Department, Peace Corps Volunteers, Recycle for Life and PSearch and Associates (environmental consultants).
The theme for this set of workshops was ‘Tourism and the Environment’.
During the morning sessions, the main areas of focus were solid waste management; garbage collection; drought and vandalism which affects the greening of some school compounds; motivation; principal, parental and community involvement.
Schools’ success stories were presented by teachers and students; and by way of group discussions and various styles of presentations, teachers felt they were able to take back to their schools practical methods of surmounting some of the problems they experienced in their schools.
“This type of sharing and networking will certainly help us as teachers; and it will greatly assist our teaching methods. When we work closely with the community, good things happen, and I’ve learnt a lot at this workshop that I can pass on to others,” said Yvonne Hill, Grade 6 teacher at Sandy Bay Primary & Junior High in Hanover.
The afternoon session looked at tourism – the different types of tourism and what they mean, the role of the school and the community in enhancing the tourism product.
SEP has increased its numbers from 223 schools in the 1999/2000 school year to 279 in the 2000/2001 school year. Schools will be assessed in April by programme staff and those who have satisfactorily implemented the programme will move forward to national judging in May.
Winners will be announced at the annual awards ceremony in June.
SEP is implemented by the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) and the Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust (JCDT), and is the largest environmental education programme in Jamaica.
The programme is assisted by 15 non-government organisations (NGOs) across the island. Funding comes from donor agencies – the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ), the British High Commission, Canada/Jamaica Green Fund, the ENACT Programme and Save the Children (UK); and corporate Jamaica.