13 April 2020

Creating a New Society through Environmental Education

In 1977 the Tbilisi Declaration on environmental education was adopted to “create new patterns of behavior of individuals, groups, and society as a whole towards the environment.” In the spirit of the nearly 45 year old declaration, the Franco-Haitian University of Cap-Haitian, a UNAI member institution in Haiti, has developed a project on environmental education as part of its community outreach and extension initiatives that is supported by the Association for the Development of the Northeast and the French Embassy in Port-au-Prince.

The program is tailored to primary school teachers to build their capacity to educate students about the critical relevance of protecting the environment. The program is currently offered to more than 60 teachers in 10 schools through six training modules covering a wide range of themes, including reflections on environmental education, ecological elements, basics on sustainable development, educational approaches to sustainable development and the management of extracurricular projects related to the environment.

Every teacher is required to apply the content in their classroom, and they have to explain in detail how they plan to incorporate the information into their overall teaching and learning activities, based on the age and grade level of the students and resources available to them. Teachers have already proposed a wide range of classroom applications and solutions for teaching about the environment.   

Following the training, the educators will implement local awareness campaigns, community recycling programs, innovation on waste management to ensure the proper disposal of garbage, and reforestation techniques in the schools themselves and surrounding areas. Feedback from participants has indicated a high level of satisfaction with the program.

While concerns about environmental topics might be neglected amid challenges that are perceived as more critical, the Franco-Haitian University of Cap-Haitian, in line with its mission of enhancing both competencies and learning skills of its students, has gone beyond campus to improve the level of knowledge and awareness among those who educate younger generations.

The program developed by this university is in line with Goal 4 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its target 4.7 related to ensure “that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development,” including through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles. You can take a look at this UNESCO guide on Environmental Education Activities for Primary Schools to learn more.