A seminar and workshop by PCI with the mission of promoting better environmental education
With the current condition of the earth, it has become increasingly important that we teach the younger generation to understand and care for the environment. It is essential that children nowadays grasp the importance of living a sustainable lifestyle- otherwise the environmental problems they face will just get worse and worse.
Like with any other life skills, teaching children involves all layers of society, namely: their homes, schools, and the community.
The government has recognize that environmental education, formally known as Pendidikan Lingkungan Hidup, is an important topic to be taught at schools, and has thus introduced the Adiwiyata program, which conducts environmental education in formal schools. This program was first introduced in 1975 by IKIP Jakarta, limited to only a small number of schools in the capital city. Now, this program is run all over the country, with most public schools actively implementing or at least aware of this program to some level.
Although this is a national program which is regulated by the Ministry of the Environment, a lot of schools are still struggling with it. With that in mind, Project Child Indonesia (PCI) held a seminar and workshop titled “Guru Hijau Jaman Now: Menuju Generasi Indonesia Hijau” (Green Teachers of Today: Towards a Green Generation of Indonesia). In this event, PCI invited 45 elementary school teachers from around Yogyakarta to participate. The seminar invited 3 speakers: a representative from the Center of Environmental Studies UGM, and headmasters from SDN Bhayangkara Yogyakarta and SDN Giwangan Yogyakarta- both who have much improved the implementation of Adiwiyata in their schools. The seminar was aimed to provide the teachers with a deeper understanding of the urgency of environmental education, and also the basics of Adiwiyata implementation. The workshop was held as a focus group discussion (FGD) which was geared towards understanding the teachers’ perception of the Adiwiyata program. The aim was to gather insight from the teachers which could be used as feedback to the Environment Agency who runs the program.
From the FGD, we understood that most teachers still found the Adiwiyata program challenging. Most teachers generally understand that environmental education is important, but translating that into classroom activities for elementary children is tough. Even though the government has provided guidelines for the curriculum, they feel that it is not specific enough and it very much requires the teachers to be creative and to actively search for ideas and materials for the class. Since most elementary school teachers do not have a formal background in environmental education, this becomes a big challenge. Another problem is that not all teachers have received the guideline or necessary information to effectively deliver the program. While some teachers are able to find different ways of integrating the material in their everyday lessons, some teachers have never even read the lesson plan for the Adiwiyata Program.
The seminar and workshop was able to provide the teachers with a space to learn from each other and share their troubles. Although the Adiwiyata Program has much potential to be a program that will have a significant impact towards the future of the environment and the next generation of Indonesians, a lot of work still needs to be done. We hope that this short experience will motivate the teachers to better implement the Adiwiyata Program, while also being a reminder for the government to improve their planning and systems related to this program.