Environmental Education Policy

 / ©: WWF-Malaysia/ Nor Shidawati
Through EE, younger generations are empowered to make decisions and take actions on environmental issues in their schools.
© WWF-Malaysia/ Nor Shidawati

Environmental Education in Malaysia: Where are we?

“I have asked a child to colour a river before and he coloured it black. I asked why did you colour it black. The child answered – because it is black!” (Participant of EC study, 25 Oct 07)
The excerpt of an interview taken from the report “Environmental Citizenship: A Report on Emerging Perspectives in Malaysia” (EC Report) by WWF-Malaysia in 2008, illustrate the innocence of a child's perception on the colour of a river, which by norm is clear. In reality, the child may not have come across a river in any other colour, except for black. Hence, we, custodians of this great country called Malaysia, home to one of 12 mega- diversity countries, ready to promise these younger generations such a future?

The EC Report unveiled an overwhelming 96% of the educators and 89.3% of the teacher trainees indicated the need for Environmental Education (EE). The report also highlights that almost all participants realized the need to educate young children on environmental issues.

Since 1986, Ministry of Education (MOE) has embarked on several commendable initiatives. Undeniably, within the existing curriculum, EE has been advocated by MOE. However, there still seems to be a gap between what has been advocated and the actual practices in schools and other educational institutions.
  • Nor Shidawati Abdul Rasid

    Manager Environmental Education Programme

    Peninsular Malaysia

    +6 03 7803 3772

Environmental Citizenship report findings

 / ©: WWF-Malaysia/ Nor Shidawati
98% teachers, 97 university lecturers and 96% teacher education institutes lecturers agree EE is important.
 / ©: WWF-Malaysia/ Nor Shidawati
Enlightened: Students learned to connect the concept of energy conservation to their daily lives.
© WWF-Malaysia/ Nor Shidawati
However, for EE to be made an emphasis in the classrooms, a national policy on EE needs to be developed and implemented with the collaboration and commitment of the government ministries, non-governmental organisations and industries through formal and non-formal education.  It calls for the entire Malaysian population to change their mindset, behaviours and realizing that their daily decisions do have a positive or adverse impact on the environment.

Ultimately, our hope goes beyond the establishment of an EE policy. Our hope for the future is to achieve environmental citizenship. These environmental citizens are those who are able to translate their knowledge and understanding on the environment into responsible action and are aware of their individual responsibility of safeguarding the environment for the future generation.
 / ©: WWF-Malaysia/ Nor Shidawati
98% teachers, 96 % university lecturers and 93% teacher education institute lecturers have positive attitude towards environmental initiatives
 / ©: WWF-Malaysia/ Nor Shidawati
Environmental Education inculcates leadership values, critical and creative thinking skills among students
© WWF-Malaysia/ Nor Shidawati

The EE Policy advocacy status

The proposed policy document is developed based on the findings of the EC reports and the resolutions achieved in the Environmental Citizenship National Conference held in INTEKMA Resort and Convention Center in March 2009. In addition, the document also leverages the existing relevant policies at a national and international.

Back in 2010, the document  was presented to MoE representatives, which lead to the development of a joint working paper.  Over the span of two years, due to renewed interest, WWF-Malaysia is working closely with members of National Advisory Council for Education towards the realization of the development and eventual implementation of an EE Policy.

 / ©: WWF-Malaysia/ Nor Shidawati
29% primary and 42% secondary school students as well as 45% teachers know the reasons behind some environmental issues
 / ©: WWF-Malaysia/ Nor Shidawati
56% Malaysians are reported to have positive Environmental Citizenship