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Environmental Education Initiative for Primary and Secondary Pupils in Syria

Concept


Formal and non-formal education of young people in environment protection and sustainable development fields are essential to develop future ecologically responsible citizens (eco-citizens). By providing knowledge and developing practical skills, environmental education promotes attitudes and values that encourage environmentally ethical behaviour that would complement and protect efforts in development for the long term.

sba and Massar jointly designed an environmental education initiative for schoolchildren in Syria with the support of Reach Out to Asia (ROTA). The project is premised on a first pilot phase to develop and test the needed approaches in selected schools of Aleppo followed by a second phase to roll-out the activities on a wider national basis. It comprises both formal and informal approaches to the development of environmental awareness and active support amongst young people, and the establishment of an environmental culture within communities.

The first phase of the project lasted 3 years (August 2010 – July 2013).

Objectives


Global objective


Environmental education is widely integrated in the curricula of primary and secondary schools in Syria and environmental protection practices are effective and operational among population.

Specific objectives




Strategic approach


The environmental education of primary and secondary pupils will be based on two complementary approaches: non-formal and formal education. The objective is to contribute to the emergence of a synergistic relationship between formal and non-formal education in Syria. This will strengthen existing pedagogy through closer links between the curriculum and extra-curricular activities (e.g. afterschool classes, clubs, story-telling, debate, media, outdoor activities, etc.).

Formal education seeks to provide pupils with environment theoretical and methodological concepts. It will also allow them to use their critical minds during exercises, role play, group work, etc. The aim is helping pupils to discover environmental problems and good environmentally friendly practices in an active and participatory way.

Non-formal activities will enhance understanding of environmental concepts that are taught in the context of a formal school. They will put environmental concepts into practice through the implementation of pupils' eco-projects. Non-formal activities will focus on practical skills and knowledge and be complemented through national touring activities and regional discovery centres. Appropriate and multi-disciplinary teaching approaches and education contents will be designed regarding learners' needs. These teaching materials will focus on the following aspects: awakening enthusiasm, developing knowledge and insight, focusing attention and encouraging active engagement.

Expected results


Through the implementation of the above activities, it is expected that the project obtains the following results:

The Main Partners


Massar


Established in early 2005, and since 2007 part of the Syria Trust for Development, Massar is a Syrian NGO established to inspire and enable young people to play an active role in their community and the wider world. Massar works closely with the Ministry of Education in Syria to ensure complementarity between its own non-formal learning activities and the formal education curriculum.

The Syrian Environmental Association(SEA)


The SEA is the first Environmental NGO in Syria and aims to raise public awareness towards environmental related issues, especially among youth and children. Through its continuous projects and activities, SEA focuses on environmental protection and networking with local, regional and international NGOs. Throughout the past eight years, SEA has participated with its young volunteers in several environmental activities, which are regular activities now in SEA, and includes: raising environmental awareness in schools and parks, environmental education in schools, Barada River cleaning, exhibitions, tree planting, and participation in several committees and activities with related NGOs.

The Ministry of Education


The Ministry of Education (MoE) is in charge of secondary and primary schools throughout Syria. The MoE is responsible for all aspects of administration, including curricula development with the objective of promoting active learning. The MoE is the main official counterpart of the project (the Ministry of Local Administration and Environment as well as the Ministry of Higher Education will be involved to a lesser extend).


Photos : © TV5 / Claude Vittiglio – BBC

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