Environmental Education in Grades 4-6, Timor-Leste
From 28 February to 13 March 2011, Live & Learn Environmental Education (Live & Learn) undertook a Rapid Assessment of Perceptions (RAP) on the current status of environmental education in the elementary education in Timor-Leste. Funded by UNICEF Timor-Leste, a key aim of the RAP was to identify opportunities for strengthening the teaching and learning of environmental education in elementary level schooling.
It involved research in four schools together with a review of curriculum. The team also met with the Ministry of Education Curriculum Branch, UNICEF staff, FAO staff and CARE Timor-Leste.
The findings indicate that there are strengths within the schools, and highlight the need for further work to enhance student centered teaching and to strengthen the ability of teachers to effectively deliver environmental education.
The RAP report recommends the establishment of an environmental education initiative with 3 phases focusing on resource development, teacher training and student leadership. These phases are interlinked and mutually complementary. It recommends that the first phase of the initiative should focus on strengthening the capacity of teachers to deliver environmental education in Grades 4-6 with a particular focus on the Estudo Do Meio curriculum. This stage should involve the development of relevant resources to support teacher training and improved delivery of environmental education. It further recommends that this phase should involve the development of a set of student resources, which would assist the teachers in their delivery of environmental education.
Background to the project
In January 2011, Live & Learn Environmental Education (Live & Learn) was invited by UNICEF Timor-Leste to undertake a scoping study of environmental education in the elementary school system, and to identify opportunities for strengthening the teaching and learning of environmental education in elementary level schooling.
To meet this brief, Live & Learn undertook a Rapid Assessment of Perceptions (RAP) in Timor-Leste from 28 February to 13 March 2011.
A RAP uses a qualitative methodology which captures perceptions of particular issues and the aspirations of individuals and communities.
These insights provide an invaluable contribution to the development of educational strategies which are relevant to the project participants and which reflect their lives. In this case, the RAP focussed on capturing the perceptions of elementary teachers in Timor-Leste, and key stakeholders such as government officials, donor bodies and aid agencies.
The objectives of the RAP were to:
- Ascertain the extent of teachers’ understanding of Environmental Education and what they perceive environmental education can do.
- Identify curriculum links, strengths and opportunities for the mainstreaming of Environmental Education;
- Inform the writing and content of education and learning resources; and
- Inform Monitoring and Evaluation of impact.
Live & Learn has facilitated the first meeting with the environmental education working group were the design concept was presented. Approximately 15 people attended (mainly Timorese) including representatives from the Ministry of Education, UNICEF, CARE international, Haburas Foundation, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Forestry, National Institute of Teacher Training, University of Timor-Leste and teachers themselves. The project was received well and people are enthusiastic about the future of environmental education in Timor-Leste.