Monday, July 6, 2009

Eco trained kids

A primary school for girls is to begin a project with the Japanese-developed environmental education system called “Kids ISO 14,000 Programme”, which will be extended to all Qatari schools subsequently.

Al Israa Independent Primary Girls School’s principle Amina Ali al-Saadi said yesterday during a meeting with visiting Japanese professor Takaya Kawabe that the “Kids ISO 14000 Programme” would be introduced in September as a science extra-curricular activity, during study hours.

Kawabe explained that the “Kids ISO 14000” is an environmental education programme system for children aimed at stimulating environmental awareness.

It has been developed by ArTech (the Art & Technology Co-operation Organisation non-profit, non-governmental organisation), and is one of the UN-supported programmes, expanding internationally through the UN Education Programme (UNEP), UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO).

“The children will learn to tackle environmental issues via the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle”, he said. Kawabe explained that the cycle begins with the children being the leaders of the programme, learning how to take initiative and solve problems.

Trained Eco-Kids instructors evaluate their work and those who meet requirements receive international certificates.

Kawabe pointed out that the programme is set to be introduced to children at the age of 10. “They start the introductory level and go through primary, middle and finally highest level,” he explained.

The expert noted that environmental education is a priority as global and local environmental issues are becoming pronounced as a result to human activities.

He stressed the need for teaching children the management of their behaviour as individuals and groups, and noted that it is important for people to possess the group work concept.

“This can be understood by considering the fact that one country alone cannot stop the increase of greenhouse emissions,” he stated.

Kawabe said that the programme develops the children’s sensitivity to a good or bad environment, nature’s mechanism and sustainability, as well as the understanding of the impact of human activity in nature, and encouraging them to work together locally and globally to reduce the impact.

Kawabe said that more than 210,000 children and their families have participated in the programme since 2000. More than 85% of children can accomplish it.

Kawabe noted that the increase in number would be accelerated through the international implementation of the programme in many countries.

He said that the programme’s effectiveness is increased when adopted as a complete package including workbooks, implementation videos, training courses, evaluation system and management methodology.

“The package takes into consideration the language, culture, environment and life style of each country,” he added.

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