Promoting Environmental Education for Early and Primary Student in Indonesia 
Promoting Environmental Education for Early and Primary Student in Indonesia 

Promoting Environmental Education for Early and Primary Student in Indonesia 

AUTHORS: Dicky Surya, Amron Dhufail Khaidar Subagustian, Silvi Amaliatus Sholihah

Reviewers: Farid Al-Firdaus, Nadia Faradiba, Jovania Cindo Putri, Restu Ananda Putra, Dinda Ganisawati Javada

Indonesia’s Pillar of Sustainable Economic Development and Human Development in 2045

In 2045, global warming will become one of the biggest threats in the world. Many countries have plans to overcome these issues, including Indonesia. In 2045, Indonesia has a vision called “Indonesia Emas”. One of the programs promotes a better environment. Meanwhile, based on the survey from BPS, 72% of Indonesian citizens are less aware of the importance of a better environment (BPS, 2022), such as sorting trash, saving water, planting trees, and banning illegal logging. Moreover, the lack of environmental awareness contributes to Indonesia’s environmental performance, which has a 164th rank based on the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) 2022, a quantitative basis for comparing, analyzing, and understanding environmental performance for 180 countries (Wolf et al., 2022). Therefore, raising awareness of a loving environment must start when kids are young, such as in early and primary school age.

Problem that we found

There are several factors that shape an individual’s environmental sensibility. These factors encompass childhood experiences in nature, exposure to environmental degradation, the environmental values passed down by family and environmental organizations, the impact of role models (such as friends or teachers), and the influence of education (Parker, 2018). Environmental sustainability may be achieved when environmental awareness is performed in an integrated manner by all elements of society, such as scientists, engineers, and other communities (Agarwal, 2018). The lack of environmental understanding and awareness among the general populace has been recognized by the government, which has committed seriously to providing environmental education (EE), often known as education for sustainability (Parker, 2018).

In 2005, to enhance the implementation of Environmental Education in schools, the Ministry of National Education and the Ministry of Environment issued joint decree number 05/VI/KB/2005 to provide guidance and support for the development of environmental education, emphasizing the importance of conducting environmental Education (EE) in an integrated manner (Sekarwinahyu, M., 2008). However, this form of education is theoretical and lacks practical application, leading to a lack of self-awareness among many young people concerning environmental issues. As a result, the desired impact that they aim to achieve remains unrealized (Errica, L., et al., 2022). Lyn Parker (2018) states that Indonesia’s EE is a slow and gradual process. In many contexts in Indonesia, EE is unsatisfactory and ephemeral. 

Alternative Solutions and Recommendations

A. Immense Government Authority to Regulate systematic environmental education policies

1. Ministry of Education and Culture

Firstly, the government, as a regulator, is the first entity with the authority to decide on the policies that would support the overall implementation of environmental education in Indonesia. Governments should develop and maintain a strategic capacity to ensure that regulatory policy remains relevant and effective and can adjust and respond to emerging challenges (OECD Regulatory Policy Committee, 2012). The following suggestions are made for each relevant ministry:

The Ministry of Education and Culture should review the curriculum and establish a mandatory environmental curriculum for kindergartens and all elementary schools up to grade six. They can promote the development of an Environmental Education curriculum that is adaptable to global and regional/district environmental challenges. This is done to account for the variances in the features of distinct environmental challenges in each region. For instance, air pollution, noise pollution, and solid waste are common environmental issues in urban areas. On the other hand, environmental concerns in villages or the hinterlands may not involve water or noise pollution but rather illicit logging and wildlife hunting. Integrating local environmental themes into the school curriculum is an effective method to raise awareness about environmental issues (Sarbaini et al., 2022). Integrating local techniques, such as teaching environmental issues with local examples, observing domestic situations, incorporating role-playing, and encouraging critical thematic discussions, accelerates learning. This approach ensures that students easily understand environmental topics in the educational process. (Iozzi, 1989; Schweizer & Kelly, 2005, cited in Sarbaini et al., 2022).

2. Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises

According to the region of each company, the Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises might push to mandate some portion of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for early and primary schools. This seeks to sustainably support the application of environmental education in theory and practice. Companies can contribute by providing supporting infrastructure, modules at school and at home, or training in the form of company visits.

All of these activities, of course, demand a significant financial investment owing to the need to provide sustainability and complete environmental education, and it would be appropriate to collaborate with companies that have this kind of expertise to support them. This is because altering individual cultures in Indonesia is a difficult issue for educators and necessitates a long-term strategy.

 3.      Ministry of Environment and Forestry

The Ministry of Environment and Forestry has a program known as PROPER (Program Penilaian Peringkat Kinerja Perusahaan). PROPER is a Company Performance Rating in Environmental Management, a sort of government program meant to improve the company’s environmental management performance in accordance with laws and regulations (Ministry of Environment and Forestry, 2022). The criterion may be added such as implementation of Environmental Education and Literacy in early and Primary Schools in each region where the enterprise is located.

We do a simple calculation to simulate whether at least one firm passes the green PROPER criteria in 2022 and can contribute to the provision of environmental education in ten schools. As a result, at least 1700 new schools will receive assistance in implementing environmental education. This should help to close the gap between schools that participate in the Adiwiyata initiative and those who do not. Thus, partnering with the company will result in assessment compliance. Furthermore, it urges adults working in each organization to be environmentally responsible in order to promote Indonesia’s 2045 Vision.

B. The Forefront of School Systems and Educators in Implementing Comprehensive Environmental Education

Secondly, as program executor, the school system is supposed to maximize government and corporate contributions. The school is in charge of creating technical implementation plans based on regional or district regulations. Teachers play a vital role in utilizing digital technologies to promote environmental education for primary school students. Embracing new technologies and effectively engaging with them enables impactful environmental teaching while using appropriate tools to facilitate the process (Buchanan J. et al., 2018). Furthermore, educators should offer state-of-the-art professional experiences to inspire and stimulate the thinking of preservice teachers regarding pedagogical possibilities in their future work at schools. (Buchanan J. et al., 2018). Besides that, educators can improve their ability to implement environmental education by using outdoor-based environmental education (PLO). Outdoor-based environmental education provides a positive influence on the mastery of the concept of environmental education for kindergarten and elementary school teachers. Especially on the aspects of water, soil, air pollution, and energy savings. (Amini R. et al., 2010).

C. Collaborative Parents as enthusiastic supporters of environmental education and sustainability.

Thirdly, as daily supports, parents are required to work cooperatively with teachers and schools in carrying out practical responsibilities at home on a regular basis. Furthermore, it is hoped that with the deployment of a digital media-based monitoring tool by the school, parents will be involved in overseeing children’s development and establishing environmental awareness. 

 Conclusion

To Put it simply, early childhood and primary school environmental education have the potential to influence the first and second pillars of Indonesia’s 2045 development, which are human development, mastery of science and technology, and sustainable economic development, resulting in an increase in environmental awareness among all Indonesians. In order to meet such problems, three major parties will be required: the government, the school system and educators, and the parents.

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