Monday, 18 January 2016 00:00

In Probolinggo, Environmental Awareness Starts in School

Probolinggo, August 25–27, 2015 – The Environmental Studies Tourism Park (Taman Wisata Studi Lingkungan, TWSL) in Probolinggo City, East Java province, has partnered GIZ PAKLIM WA3 in conducting an eco-mapping pilot project at five local schools with the aim of changing the public’s mindset on environmental issues. Eco-mapping is based on a curricula mapping approach and helps teachers to deliver an experiential learning approach over a first cycle timeline of 9 to 12 months. Introductory seminars were held at junior high schools (SMP) and senior high schools/vocational high schools (SMA/SMK) to provide teachers with details of each step of the eco-mapping process, and the activities within the process (Ecomapping©, curricula mapping and peer-to-peer sharing). The five selected schools are SMAN 4, SMAN 2, SMPN 4, SMPN 7 and SMPN 10. The dissemination commenced with a speech by Mr Suharyono, the head of TWSL Probolinggo, who emphasized the importance of schools in shifting public attitudes on environmental issues. He said the paradigm for environmental education should shift from “something for students to learn from the teachers” to “schools as a focal point where students/youths and teachers/adults interact with each other, learn together and find solutions to overcome environmental issues in their area”. The school environmental audits provided school communities with skills to identify environmental problems and find solutions to overcome them. In this visit, GIZ PAKLIM WA3 and TWSL Probolinggo assisted each of the five schools in conducting an initial environmental audit based on their own school maps. Teachers and students worked together in identifying the environmental issues based on thematic areas, such as water, waste/litter and energy.  They then discussed each issue to find bottom-up solutions based on their findings.    This visit is definitely not the end of the eco-mapping process. Rather, it marks the start of a challenging journey for the five schools and TWSL Kota Probolinggo to work hand-in-hand to change the way that communities think about the environment.