February 22, 2017

Teach environmental education in Malaysian Schools? Great Idea!

Teach environmental education in Malaysian Schools? Great Idea!

Children and young people can play a vital role in environmental conservation. Photo Credit: North Carolina Environmental Education

Teach environmental conservationism at schools across Malaysia. That’s what the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry wants to do by introducing environmental education as a subject in Malaysian schools, the better to inculcate a love of the country’s abundant natural resources in youngsters.

It’s a great idea, yes.

“The ministry is serious in addressing environmental pollution and one very effective way is through early education at schools,” Natural Resources and Environment Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar explained, noting that his office will discuss the matter with the Ministry of Education. “Public awareness about the preservation of the environment,” he added, “is very low.”

We should all get behind this idea. The key to the future of Malaysia’s stunningly beautiful but rapidly diminishing natural environments lies with the attitude of younger generations who are set to become custodians of the nation’s resources.

Encouragingly, educators and environmentally conscious decision-makers across the country have been increasingly aware of this. Several grassroots initiatives from Perak to Sarawak aim to engage school children in do-it-your-self environmental initiatives: school students can participate in beach and park clean-ups on the weekends, or they can lend their support to educational campaigns in their own communities.

“The younger generation needs to be educated about the importance of the environment. Who knows, they might also teach their parents a thing or two,” Abdul Razak Dahalan, director of Perak’s Drainage and Irrigation Department, explained last August when hundreds of volunteers were recruited from primary schools, high schools, colleges and riverside communities for a weekend of cleaning, planting and environmental learning in Ipoh.

“It is sad that we can still see schoolchildren littering and throwing rubbish out of the bus windows,” he went on to explain. “The rubbish ends up in drains, clogging them up resulting in flash floods.”

That is sad indeed. But things can change. What Malaysians, young and old, need is a change in their attitudes about the natural environment. The sooner young Malaysians learn to treat forests, seas and wild animals as part of their nation’s invaluable natural treasure trove that is worth protecting fiercely, the better the prospects of environmental protection will become in Malaysia. The future of Malaysia lies with its young people and so does the future of the country’s environment.



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