is written based on my experience after attending Environmental Education
training in Japan on 14-31 August 2002. The purpose is to share ideas
and experiences attained from the training.
The training involved various teaching methods including firstly meeting officers in the ministry of environment and related government agencies concerned. Secondly, observing environmental education facilities and centres and thirdly attending briefing sessions and finally participated in three outdoor activities related to environmental education.
Among agencies I have visited and had discussion and listened to briefings are JICA headquarters, Japan Wildlife Research Centre (JWRC), Ministry of Environment, Japan Biodiversity Centre, Fujitsu Company and Tokyo Gakugei University. I also visited and observed various centres and related facilities including Shinjuku Gyoen Imperial Garden, Nikko National Parks, Tokyo Gas Exploratorium and NHK TV Station. I also participated in three outdoor environmental education activities first, Nature School for hands-on experience at Lake Tanuki of Fujicity, Shizuoka Prefecture; Second, open college programme entitled outdoor Environmental Education organized by Tokyo Gakugei University at Itsukaichi city. Third, Nikko National Park volunteers activity.
I would like to thank JICA for this training opportunity. I would also like to thank the JICA Chief Advisor for the BBEC Programme, Mr. Takahisa Kusano, Dr. Jiro Iguchi, the JICA Technical Expert for Public Awareness Component of BBEC, for their advice, support and assistance given in ensuring the success of my training. I also like to thank Ms. Ryoko Takeda the BBEC coordinator, The State Secretary, Datuk K. Y. Mustafa and all heads of components and members of the BBEC Steering Committee.
The training went on smoothly and ended very successfully. In this regard, I would like to put my highest appreciation to all persons involved in ensuring my training in Japan was well organised. Firstly, my appreciation goes to the programme coordinator Mr. Nobuyoshi Sakaguchi and Ms. Arai of JICE for their excellence coordination and translation, to Mr. Okamoto and his officers of First Training Programme of JICA, Officers at Japan Wildlife Research Centre (JWRC) especially Ms. Kaoru Shindo. And lastly to all staff members of Tokyo International Centre (TIC) for their professional services and excellence facilities provided during my stay in Tokyo.
There are various strategies, approaches or methods, which Sabah can adopt, based on Japan experience in relation to environmental education. These are summarise as follows:-
It is suggested for Sabah,
I made a courtesy call to Mr. Onodera, the deputy director of Nature Conservation Bureau of the Ministry of Environment. Among suggestions given by him are:-
This Test of Taxonomic Proficiency was developed by Japan Wildlife Research Centre (JWRC) and commenced in 1999. Briefing on Test of Taxonomic Proficiency by Ms. Imanaka at Japan Wildlife Research Centre (JWRC). Ms. Imanaka explained on the background and objectives, and gave details of the test and analysis from the result of the test.
The Test has four different grades and aims to achieve the following three objectives:-
The purpose of the four 2 level grades basically are to judge the ability and knowledge of every examinee.
The 3rd and 4th grades being the lowest are mainly to give opportunities for those who are interested in taxonomy in general and to learn more about the taxonomy as well as to promote the test amongst general public. The Test asks about living things in general such as basic knowledge about categorisation of living things, identification skills of popular animals and plants such as common wild species, horticultural plants. Examinees are required to answer by choosing a correct answer.
The purpose of the highest 1st and 2nd grades are to evaluate and improve knowledge and techniques of those who are currently engaged in research works or plan to become professionals in this field.
Only those who have over three-year experience in related field (e.g. EIA evaluation) and have passed the 2nd grade can take this examination.
The questions and certifications are handled by a panel of 9 members, which consists of university professors, expert from national museum, research scientists and so on.
Results of the Test since 1999 show interesting characteristics such as follows:-
In conclusion from this Test, JWRC is able to identify the level of knowledge among people especially students which can be used as input for curriculum evaluation. The Test is also useful to identify experts in the field so that these experts can be used as resource persons in related works.
Nature School at Lake Tanuki is located on the foot of the mount Fuji at Fuji city of Shizuoka Prefecture.
Mr. H. Iwasaki, the Nature guide of the school explained that the school was built by the Ministry of Environment. However, the day-to-day operations of the school are being managed by a NPO called Environmental Education Forum. The Forum consists of 5 organisations including Ministry of Education and Shizuoka Prefecture.
About 120,000 visitors visit the school of which around 10% participated in the school’s activities. The school is established to provide opportunities for people to “feel the nature” as well as to experience the first-hand programmes led by the professional staff. Nature education programmes offered by the school include adventures in the cave and forest, birdcalls and guided walk. Accommodation for over night stay is also available.
In the afternoon, I observed activities attended by 3 high schools, which consists about 25 students of which about 90% are female and around 7 teachers.
Two nature guides including Mr. Iwasaki taught the group. First, they were given instruction and briefing about activities to be held. They were also given information on what to look for such as insects, trees and so on. There were also games held just to make these students become interested. Another activity given was birdcalls by using a simple tool of iron screw and small cubical wood. The tool could imitate about 3 types of bird sound. The last part of the activity was to identify things found during the guided walk.
I made a courtesy call to Mr. Katsumi Kitazawa, the Director of Japan Biodiversity Centre (JBC). I was also given a tour guide in the centre, including public information centre, library, specimen rooms and lecture room. Later, Mr. Kiyoshi Tarikawa, the deputy director gave briefing on the overall operation and functions of the centre. The 4 functions of the centre are first, to conduct a National Survey on Natural Environment or Green Census, which is being held once in every 5 years. The second function of the centre is collection and storage of biological specimens and documents. The third, information i.e. collection, management and public service of information concerning biodiversity conservation. The fourth, publicity about the importance of biodiversity conservation.
The Green Census is carried nation wide since 1973 and designed to clarify the current state of Japan’s natural environment and monitor any changes. The survey is subdivided into various categories such as animals, plants, rivers/lakes/marshes etc. The Survey is implemented by local governments with the cooperation of researchers, experts and volunteers across Japan.
A briefing by Information System Planner on clearing House Mechanism (CHM) was held in the afternoon. It is a system where all information can be retrieved through CHM as focal points by using Internet server facilities. However, at present JBC is still in the R & D stage. One organisation known as Geographical survey Institute of the Ministry of transport and construction is providing this system – currently only 5 organisations are participating in the establishment of CHM. Once established, CHM can act as focal point and provides distribution of information regarding Biodiversity.
Later, a briefing by Mr. T. Ohtsuka on Japan Integrated Biodiversity Information System (J-IBIS) was held. Briefly, J-IBIS was created based on Information made in the Green Census. It has been made public since 1998 and was updated in 1999. Information is made available on the web and CD – ROM.
JBC also introduces “Internet Nature Museum” which is place in the JBC Website for the benefit of general public. Among interesting feature includes live pictures taken in certain strategic places in all Japan National Parks. Live images are transferred every one-hour and general public can search them in the website. Preview pictures and information are stored in the server and are also made available in the Internet.
This outdoor environmental education course was attended by around 30 people consisting school teachers and staffs of Tokyo Gakugei University. The Outdoors Environmental Education started with a visit to Buddhist Temple at Vokoirizawa and proceeds to Satoyama nearby which is rich with forests and vegetation. Instruction and guide were given by an interpreter, a pensioner who lived nearby. Then we proceed to Hinohera where we moved to forest lodge at Yokowawairi.
After lunch, we had dye making activities by using natural bark of sida tree. The lesson was given on how to make dye by separating bark from sida timber, tear into small pieces and the boiled them for a few hours. We were also thought on how to make pattern, which is depend on individual creativity. Ashes are added in the bark solution to make the dye stronger and not easily faded. Then the clothes put in the solution and leave them overnight.
We also learned on how to look and identify aquatic life creatures in the river water, which is an important indicators or pollution index of the water. The lesson learned includes on how to find these creatures and identify them by comparing with pictures given as a guide. Some questions were asked to be filled in the booklet including river characteristics such as width, speed of river water flow, common types of creatures and finally identify whether the river is clean or dirty.
The last activity basically was to make patterns and pictures using nature’s items such as stone, woods, leaves and others. Participants are divided into a group of 4 and are given 45 minutes to let them design pictures or patterns according to their creativity. The objective of this activity is to make aware of nature and surrounding which is very useful for almost any purposes.
After dinner, slide presentation and lecture about universe, stars, planets and all kind of phenomena in the universe were given.
Before recess for the day, we had a brief gathering among participants by having ala-Japanese party.
On the second day of outdoors-Environmental Education we started our day at 5.30 a.m. by watching bird around the river and near the foot of the mountain. However only few birds were seen as we were informed that during this time, birds are resting after mating season.
we continued our activities about forest work. We were thought on how
to sharpening grass cutter and went for forest’s grass clearing
on a slope of a mounting nearby.
this course has provided participants with new perspective on the understanding
and perception about nature. The two days camp had given me new experiences
on environmental education by participating fully in the activities.
My two-days trip to Nikko National Park of Tochigi Prefecture was arranged together with the wildlife conservation course of African countries. This group consists eight participants from countries including Ghana, Senegal, Zambia, Madagascar, etc. The group was accompanied by training coordinator, Ms. Nakajima and Mr. Kinoshita of JWRC apart from my interpreter, Mr. Sakaguchi.
Upon arrival at Nikko National Parks we were greeted by Park Volunteers and staffs of Natural Parks Foundation who managed Information centres at Nikko National Parks.
We participated in the cleaning volunteer activities together with local participants, around 15 persons, around wetlands hiking tracks. Along the way, Interpretation on the types of flora (plants and trees), surrounding environment is given by park volunteers. We were also informed that deer are eating bark of beech trees and resulting some of these trees died. Between November and February last year, about 1,500 deer were shot and but their numbers keeps increasing. This is a big problem to the management of Nikko National Park.
Among initiatives taken to solve this problem are by putting fencing at certain boundaries and by wrapping beech trees with strong plastic net.
The hiking area covers wide area of wetlands and canals including waterfalls known as Yudaki Waterfalls.
On the second day, a lecture was given by Prof. Motoko Oyadomari of Edogawa University, Chiba at visitors centre. Her lecture is entitled National Park Systems of the world.
She started the lecture by informing us on the history of national park with the first established National Park in Yellowstone, USA in 1872. This was followed by the establishment of National Park in Australia in 1879, Canada in 1885 and New Zealand in 1894. Japan, in 1934 and Malaysia in 1939.
Parks were established because of various reasons such as for economic or for political reason. In Japan, National Parks are established to preserve natural beauty but not solely to conserve of Biological Diversity. There is distinct difference between these two, the former volunteers are used to manage parks such as cutting trees and cleaning while the letter, ecosystem are preserved without human intervention.
informed the five types of National Park namely:-
Involvement of people in the management of Japan National Parks are:-
After the lecture, we had a sharing session with inputs from participants for African countries. Activities conducted related to environmental or Nature Conservation in these African countries included tree planting, study visit, poem and drawing competition etc.
The Visit to Nikko ended by making a courtesy call to the Mayor of Nikko city.
The briefing started was given by the manager of sales and Marketing Department, Mr. Uno on the company and Japan strategy to become top ICT country in year 2005.
The second briefing was given on Japan Integrated Biodiversity Information System (J-IBIS) by Ms. Fukuba and Mr.Yoshida. The briefing covered the network system of J-IBIS, steps required for website maintenance. They also talked about the flow of a system construction started with date collection and creation and ended by the feedback from users.
We were also given a chance to visit Fujitsu Exhibition Centre where they exhibit latest products as well as old technology such as the auto relay computer aged 48 years ago.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by the General Manager Mr. Takashi. Later Mr. Takashi and his deputy Mr. Ikura gave briefing on objectives, facilities and concept of the exploratorium owned by Tokyo Gas Company.
The Energy and Earth Exploratorium was built about 4 years ago with the purpose that visitors particularly children can learn and understand the issue of environment and energy. The facility was built under the concept to make the most of natural energy such as solar and wind, recycles water and uses energy efficiently with a hi-tech technology equipment including fuel cells, Gentlink etc.
The Energy and Earth Exploratorium is equipped with modern facilities for visitors such as exhibition room, workshop room, Environmental Information Centre and Theatre. More than 100,000 visitors visited this centre annually, with more than 60% are children and their families, 30% school children and teachers and the rest are public, government officials.
The three main features in this exploratorium are firstly, hands on experience where children can touch panels and play around. Secondly, interpreters are used not only to explain the exhibits, but also to stimulate children’s awareness. Thirdly, the whole buildings are eco-friendly by making use of light, water and vegetation and incorporating latest modern technology. About 98% of power used in the building is generated through fuel cell.
I also able to observe in action activities held for children such as EL TV (Earth lover TV) and workshop conducted by Interpreters.
These are 25 Interpreters in the Exploratorium whom are mainly young graduates in environmental education, arts, science and gardening. A special training were given prior to become Interpreter on environmental education including visit to museum, or participated in specific training such as Kiosatu Environmental Education Project (KEEP).
Overall, this exploratorium is managed independently without any financial or advisory support from government.
At the TGU, I met Mr. & Mrs. Eiichiro Harako and Ms. Kanoda with translation given by Ms. M. Arai replacing Mr. Sakaguchi.
Mr. Harako gave briefing on TGU general information. TGU was established for teachers’ education and advance training. Currently, TGU has more than 5,000 students with two faculties i.e. Teachers and secondly Liberal Arts course. It has other facilities and institutes especially the Field Study Institute for environmental education.
Mr. Harako also gave explanation about National Policy on Environmental Education by two ministries namely the ministry of environmental and secondly ministry of education.
introduced by the ministry of environment has 6 main pillars such as follows:-
On the hand,
the policy formulated by ministry of education has 5 strategies such as
and Development on Environmental Education at community and family level.
4) Improvement of Dissemination of Information System including create database for Environmental Education, Teaching Method and Techniques, Case Studies implemented by schools. Once completed it will be published in the website.
Both policies are revised annually but implemented independently. However, they are some projects implemented together e.g. children park project, global learning. Later, Ms. Kanoda informed on actual case studies done at primary and Junior High School.
The first case study at Jinggo-mae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo involving greening activity by planting paddy in pots with assistance given by a farmer from Nigata Prefecture.
The Second case study is involving students at Anjo-Nishi Junior High School at Aichi Prefecture. This is a pilot project in which underground water is pumped out and used for watering Biotope and also for organic farming. Another project by these students is a study on the level of water pollution by involving local people. Both projects supported by Prefecture education board and education board of the city government.
The difficulty for teachers is that there is no specific subject on environment. It is up to these teachers to think and use their creativity to develop Environmental Education.
At NHK I had discussion with Mr. Masaru Ikeo, the Executive Producer of science and environment programme.
The programme produce by NHK focuses on science and technology, medical, life science, nature, wildlife and conservation.
NHK airs once weekly programme on nature and conservation and produced 40 programmes (of which 30 are filmed outside Japan) in a year. One of them is a programme called Global Family, which has been run since 1989. The basic concept of global family is focusing on one animal or one habitat. On April, there was a programme on Proboscis Monkey of Sabah.
NHK also produces special series programme e.g. Wild Asia, Co-produced with natural History of New Zealand.
Another programme on Environmental Education for NHK Education Channel is known as “Only One Earth”.
About 12% of Japan household (or around 12 million people) watch weekly programme on nature and conservation.
I had a discussion with Mr. Stefan & Mr. Yamase at IWRC regarding the proposed to held an environmental conservation programme for Japanese youth together with local youth in Sabah. This programme could be held in year 2003 if Sabah supported it by giving local manpower and facilities. On the other hand JWRC will provide fund for all Japanese participants. A total of 40 youth aged between 20-21 could be selected based on 1:1 ratio.
Further detail of the programme will be discussed with BBEC members and JICA.
The final day of the training is evaluation meeting first with Ms. Shindo of JWRC and secondly with JICA at TIC attended by Mr. Okamoto, Mr. Tanaka, Ms. Nishiuma of JICA and Mr. Sakaguchi of JICE.
The discussion touched on the Questionnaire that was provided by JICA and filled by myself. I gave written and verbal input on the pros and cons of the training programme.
Overall, this environmental education training has given me new knowledge and eye opener of the Japan policy, system, institutional framework, and the HRD supports in the implementation of environmental education.
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