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Guest blog by Etty Rahmawati
The word Adiwiyata is derived from 2 words in Sanskrit; ‘adi’ and ‘wiyata.’ ‘Adi’ means big, great, ideal, or perfect, while ‘wiyata’ means a place to get knowledge, norms and ethics in social life. The Adiwiyata program is run by the Indonesia Ministry of Environment, whose aim is to raise knowledge and awareness of environmental conservation among students and faculty in schools. They do this by paying close attention to how lessons are taught and making sure should they are linked to environmental awareness. They also teach the 3 R’s (Reuse, Reduce, Recycle) and manage gardens for medicinal plants, etc.
Since August 2014, I have served as one of the committee members of Adiwiyata Kayong Utara Regency, representing ASRI, along with other committee members from the Ministries of Environment, Education and Religious Affairs. There are 12 schools in the regency whose vision and mission center on environmental awareness. I have been visiting and educating students in some of these schools.
The subjects I teach include “Environmental Threats” (for primary school students) which focuses on waste management, “Tropical Rain Forest” (for junior high school students) which centers on the benefits and threats regarding the rain forest, and “Environmental Threats” which also covers the rain forest and includes mangroves and corals in the lesson. 268 children (coming from 7 different schools) have attended these lessons. One of the schools also requested for ASRI to come plant trees with the students, and even sent 42 students to ASRI’s conservation office for a lesson on how to make recycled paper (taught by senior ASRI Kids). Furthermore, another school requested ASRI to teach environmental education as a local content subject for the 4th and 5th graders. So far, we have taught 4 lessons, each with a total of 105 students!
These schools are not only being guided by the regency committee, but also being evaluated and scored on how they implement environmental awareness in school activities and lessons. The 12 schools are expected to adopt environmentally-centered models. If they reach a certain exemplary level, the higher provincial committee, will guide and evaluate them to become the model school in the province, and then, in Indonesia.
This program will continue to conduct lessons and guide schools every year, and we will continue to monitor those 12 schools. We will also continue to encourage other schools to include environmental education into their activities and lesson plans.
Being involved in Adiwiyata has made the ASRI Kids program widely heard. A group of science teachers invited me to teach them how to make recycled paper, so they can implement it in teaching their students on the "Role of People in Environmental Management." Moreover, six former ASRI Kids who are now known as ASRI Teens are teaching in one of the Adiwiyata schools once a month. Their students are 7th, 8th, and 9th graders who join an extracurricular activity called SINAM (Siswa Pecinta Alam, translated to "Students of Nature Lovers") in their school. Before they teach the class, I train them on how to make a lesson plan that includes creating fun teaching techniques and media and managing a class that involves 20-30 students.
Seeing my students’ enthusiasm in learning and being aware of their environment means a lot to me. As I have been involving myself in ASRI Kids program and Adiwiyata, being an environment educator has been my great passion.
About Etty Rahmawati
Etty is ASRI's Community Outreach Coordinator, and is in charge of teaching the ASRI Kids. She is based in Sukadana, West Kalimantan where ASRI is located and has a passion for environmental education.