Carren's Pitch

Life by Design

8/01/2004

Helping Teachers Give Quality Education

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

Manila – August 1, 2004— In business, profits are the benchmark of an organization’s success. But, for the Center for Environmental Awareness and Education (CEAE), profit comes from more than monetary accomplishment. CEAE believes that for the country to start on the road to sustainable development, a grassroots environmental education campaign must first be set in place. In order for citizens to make the proper decisions, they must first be able to think critically and creatively.


Sadly, the current educational system is hard-pressed to address the country’s educational needs. While the Philippines has been ranked as one of the most schooled nations in Asia ahead of Brunei and Korea, it has been experiencing a deterioration in quality. In recent years, the mean performances of Grade 6 pupils in the National Elementary Assessment Test (NEAT) have declined from 50.8 in 1997 to 50.1 in 1998. A similar story is told at the secondary level of education, the mean performance score of fourth year high school students in the NSAT slipped from 48.7 in 1997 to 46.1 in 1998. The results of the 1999 NEAT with only 49.19% and NSAT 54.34% mastery level showed that Filipino children absorbed and retained only half of what they should have mastered specially in Mathematics and Science, according to a report made by Dr. Aquilina Rivas in 2001. Furthermore, budget allocations for the education sector have increased an average of one percent annually over the past four years unable to keep pace with the Philippines’ rate of population increase, according to Department of Education Undersecretary Juan Miguel Luz.

CEAE has been working against this trend. Through its multi-awarded environmental education programs, Project Water Education for Teachers (Project WET) and Project Learning Tree (PLT), CEAE has been training educators to use classroom aids and curriculum-based environmental materials to stimulate their students' critical and creative thinking. PLT is interdisciplinary environmental education program that focus on the environment- land, air and water- and are designed to develop critical thinking skills among participants. Project WET provides a thorough water education program and also addresses water's chemical and physical properties, quantity and quality issues, aquatic wildlife, ecosystems, and management strategies.


Since its inception on April 2000, CEAE has already trained over a thousand educators from around the country on environmental education. It has already cultivated seven provincial partners who are conducting their own PLT and Project WET workshops in their own communities. These partners are: Cebu Uniting for Sustainable Water, St. Mary's University in Nueva Vizcaya, Palawan State University, CARE Ozamiz, Leyte State University, Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation in Bacolod, and Alpha Angelicum Academy in Laguna. CEAE’s partnerships with Nestle and Ford Motor Company have also enabled it to promote environmental education inside public schools and other organizations around the Philippines.

These great accomplishments are only the beginning, plans are already underway for a release of a Project WET Philippines Guide and an original educational program called Watershed Education Program. On October 22-23, it will host the first ever Philippine Educators for the Environment Conference (PEEC) open to all formal and non-formal educators. PEEC will bring together environmental educators from around the country to discuss the latest developments in the field of environmental education. Among the topics to be discussed are Programs for Schools and Communities, Educational Materials and Practical Applications of environmental education. Others topics include Outdoor Education, Inner Ecology, Latest Statistics on the Environment, and Environmental Psychology.


CEAE has long realized that education is a key sector in sustainable national development. Studies have shown that education provides several key benefits- growth in productivity, poverty reduction, and social development. On a personal level, education provides a more opportunities and literally a new life for those who are able to get it. Those who receive quality education are able to make decisions with a wider framework and a deeper understanding of their decision’s implications. In the words of H.G. Wells, “human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.” By enabling the population to think critically, CEAE is empowering them.

For information: http://www.ceae.org or http://www.projectwet.org.ph
Phone: 721-7360 telefax: 533-3712

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