January 28, 2013
Three new schools have been added to the Schools’ Environment Programme (SEP) roster, taking the number involved in the newly revamped programme to thirty-two. The schools are: Liguannea Prep, Pimento Hall International School and Pisgah All Age School.
The sixteen year old programme is currently funded through a grant agreement with the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA). Under the agreement, which was signed last September, the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) will administer the grant on behalf of the NRCA. Expenses for the 2012/13 academic year are covered under the arrangement.
Head of the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET), Diana McCaulay said that, “environmental education in schools is very important.” She was speaking following an update on SEP activities at the St. Martin de Porres Primary School last week. JET manages the SEP.
Peter Knight, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), of NEPA said 'the programme is vital to inculcating positive environmental practices among the targeted students. It facilitates broad-based support for the environment in schools and we can't discount the impact on the families of students and teachers and the communities which the schools serve'.
Pointing to the success of the programme so far, Ms McCaulay said that "JET is very happy to have this small cadre of schools to continue this important work which was started in 1997." She applauded the participants and highlighted that the SEP is expected to reach approximately 23,000 students and 600 teachers across Jamaica this school year. Most of the schools in the current SEP programme were top performers in the previous version of the programme.
The SEP is Jamaica's largest environmental education programme. It has been delivered in over 350 schools over its sixteen year run. At last count, it was estimated to have reached some 300,000 students and 600 teachers.
The SEP was started during the 1997/8 academic year and reached its peak in 2002/3. Financial constraints over time led to a contraction of the programme. In January 2010, SEP was closed due to lack of funding from the Ministry of Education. A scaled down version of the programme was re-launched in September 2010 in thirty schools with the help of the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ). Those funds dried up in August 2012.