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Educating young on environ a necessary investment
Published on: Sunday, February 04, 2024
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The desire to transform Malaysia into a sustainably developed country is apparent among the rakyat as evidenced in the growing number of sustainability initiatives.
THE International Day of Environmental Education was celebrated on 26 January every year, WWF-Malaysia pledges our continued commitment to strengthen environmental education towards creating a sustainable Malaysia. 

This day marked the commitment of over 70 countries in support for environmental protection through education as part of the Belgrade Charter. The 12th World Environmental Education Congress took place in Abu Dhabi. WWF-Malaysia nominated one of our youth champions, Mogesh Sababathy, to represent Malaysia as one of the youth panel speakers at this Congress.

We believe in the power of environmental education in nurturing children to appreciate and protect nature. This belief has served as one of the cornerstones for the introduction of WWF-Malaysia’s mobile education unit 45 years ago, which travelled around Peninsular Malaysia to unveil the wonders of nature to students.

We then expanded our efforts by taking up the role of national operator of the Eco-Schools programme in 2011. Eco-Schools is a well-established international programme under the Foundation of Environmental Education.

We have inspired teachers and students alike, and over 300 schools across Malaysia launched their own sustainability initiatives. In July 2022, WWF-Malaysia officially passed the baton of the National Operator to our partner, the Green Growth Asia Foundation (GGAF) which set a target of 1000 eco-schools by 2025.

The need for change has never been as intensely felt as it is now. WWF-Malaysia expands our aspirations further by adopting the education for sustainable development approach. Environmental Education (EE) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), often used interchangeably, have slight differences. 

EE was established as an essential tool to foster a positive ecological relationship between humans and nature, while ESD was later promoted to address the growing challenges of the planet while advancing as a society.

ESD is part of Unesco’s education strategy and is also aligned to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs).

The values of Madani Malaysia emphasise the importance of local know-how in championing sustainability. We support this by empowering Malaysians youth to know and value our biodiversity, and embrace nature-positive behaviours in our local context.

We leverage on experience accumulated over 50 years through our collaborations with government agencies, communities, civil societies and individuals across the country.

We acknowledge the importance of engaging with the Ministry of Education Malaysia to maximise the reach and impact of our efforts among students. Therefore, we are actively involved in the ongoing curriculum review and are working to provide inputs into the next education blueprint. 

We also incorporate ESD values into extracurricular activities as encouraged in the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013 - 2025, for example, through our long-standing collaboration with Persekutuan Pengakap Malaysia.

WWF-Malaysia has been working closely with the Ministry of Education Malaysia, Amanah Lestari Alam (ALAM), the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), Green Growth Asia Foundation (GGAF), expert academicians and other key players to form a national ESD network that will help reimagine ESD in Malaysia. 

This is one of the ways we play our part in equipping educators with robust resources to empower youth to be part of the solution to global challenges.

By lending support as knowledge partners and advisors for youth-led sustainability initiatives within and beyond institutions of higher learning, WWF-Malaysia seeks to capacity-build as many youths as possible to ensure they are ready to take on the challenges of tomorrow in their respective fields of work.

WWF-Malaysia also aims to invoke positive behavioural change among youths through our expert-led, capacity-building programmes such as the digital Climate Communication Challenge in 2023 and the Eco-Champions Award that will be relaunched this year.

These programmes provide opportunities for youth to contribute to climate action in their very own ways – including using social media to spread awareness and bring their peers on board.

The desire to transform Malaysia into a sustainably developed country is apparent among the rakyat as evidenced in the growing number of sustainability initiatives.

No matter your background, fellow Malaysians – youths, teachers, professionals, policymakers, corporate executives - we encourage you to reach out to WWF-Malaysia to transform Malaysia into a sustainable nation. Together, we can optimise education as a powerful tool to enhance sustainable citizenship. 

WWF Malaysia

- The views expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Express.

- If you have something to share, write to us at: [email protected]



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