Learning about nature. (c) Nugroho Arif Prabowo/TNC
Since mid-2015, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) along with Raja Ampat District Education Office and Yayasan Pendidikan Islam (YAPIS) has developed a comprehensive curriculum on environmental education for elementary school students, especially those in fourth and fifth grade. The new curriculum was launched on National Education Day by the Regent of Raja Ampat Faris Abdul Umlati and is planned to be implemented in all elementary schools in the district.
Located in the heart of the Coral Triangle. The Raja Ampat Islands is the world's center for marine biodiversity. With more than 533 species of coral found here. it is home to 75% of world’s coral species. The rich marine life provides shelter for more than 1,437 reef fish species and livelihood for more than 40,000 residents. Local communities in Raja Ampat have strong cultural links and traditional ownership over their land and sea territory.
With the current level of threat in the region, introducing environmental issues from an early age to children through education is more important than ever. The new curriculum integrates several branches of life sciences that are highly contextual to the current situation. It also uses local atmosphere as a learning source to trigger students have the ability to analyze types of environmental issues and understand the importance of sustainability in natural resources management. "We hope this curriculum can develop basic knowledge about marine science and conservation, especially natural resources in Raja Ampat. We expect students will love and appreciate nature as a precious gift from God and help to preserve it for generations to come,” said Faris.