Marine Environmental Education for Primary Schools in Mauritius
Marine Environmental Education for Primary Schools in Mauritius
The Pilot Project for Marine Environmental Education & Resource Centres for Beaches in Mauritius funded by principal sponsor Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) of the UNDP and in partnership with the Mauritian Scuba Diving Association, Beach Authority and Rotary Club Port Louis Citadelle, has reached term at the end of April 2008. In general, the pilot project has been a great success despite some delays in the completion of some activities and the next two years will even be more important to consolidate what has been started. Reef Conservation is therefore looking for more funding to build on what has already been achieved and to ensure that what has already been started specially at the level of the integration of marine sciences in the curriculum will not be wasted because this is a process that takes several years to achieve.

Through the pilot project, a number of tools and materials on the marine environment based on the local context have been developed by Reef Conservation. Teacher workshops were organised to train teachers in the use of these educational materials, in marine ecology principles and in guidelines on how to implement the environmental corners project. The Hons. Mr Gokool, Minister of Education and Human Resources was present at the last teacher workshop in December 2007 and he fully supported the project and called for it to be expanded nationwide.

Environmental corners were set up in 20 primary schools in partnership with the Rotary Club Port Louis Citadelle. The environment corner consists of two components, a terrestrial part whereby indigenous plants are introduced to the children and a marine part.

A curriculum framework Proposal for inserting marine science principles in the curriculum for primary schools was developed and presented to all panels working on curriculum renewal and development through the National Council for Curriculum Renewal and Development (NCCRD). But the work with the panels started only in January 2008, with Reef Conservation participating in the review of the final document for Standards 3 and 4. Reef Conservation aims at continuing to work with the curriculum developers of the NCCRD to insert marine science topics in key areas of the existing science curriculum. The Ministry of Education and Human Resources will be reviewing the curricula for the textbooks for Standards 5 and 6 in 2009-10, and therefore this is an ideal time to introduce the basics of marine biology and conservation in the textbooks of school children.

A Beach Resource Centre has been set up since September 2007, thanks to the support of the Beach Authority through the provision and renovation of a building on Pereybere Public Beach. Club Mer which is a programme to encourage students to learn about the marine environment has been organized at the Beach Resource Centre together with field activities and swimming/snorkeling lessons. Club Mer will continue and Reef Conservation hopes to train a new batch of youngsters every year.

Feedback from teachers and children for this pilot project, particularly for the environmental corners component, has been very positive. Absenteeism was reduced on the days that environmental clubs were active. The environmental corners project was seen as a means to complement what was learned in science, history and geography classes, but also as a means to improve English using the materials donated. More importantly, the activities in connection with the environmental club were viewed as a way to enhance the personal development of the child. There has been a growing demand from other schools to set up this project in their respective schools.

Reef Conservation Mauritius, the project proposer is a local marine conservation NGO dedicated to the conservation and restoration of the marine environment of Mauritius. The NGO will collaborate with the different stakeholders to implement the project successfully.

The primary objective of the project is to consolidate what has been started during the past two years. Reef Conservation wants to reinforce and continue sensitization and education of school children about the importance of the marine environment and the need to respect and protect it. It has become imperative to target the younger generations through the formal and non-formal education institutions by providing the appropriate tools, theoretical framework and hands-on experience such as fieldtrips so as to instil stewardship of marine environment in the future generations and stakeholders. People will only protect when they respect and will only respect what they know.

Reef Conservation is aiming to work with 60 schools (preferably in the north of the island due to logistic constraints) over 2 years to implement the project. These schools will include government, Roman Catholic (RCA), ‘Zones d’Education Prioritaires’ (ZEP) and private schools such as ANFEN (Adolescent Non-Formal Education Network), the rationale behind being that the project will target a wide range of socio-economic groups.

The second objective of the Education project will be to extend ‘Environmental Corners’ in other Primary schools in partnership with the Rotary Club Port Louis Citadelle and other private partners such as the Barclays Bank, Veranda Resorts and Veranda Grand Baie.

The environment corner will consist of two components, a terrestrial part whereby indigenous plants will be introduced to the children and a marine part. The marine part seeks to bring the marine environment closer to the children and will include interactive educational materials like Posters, Cd Rom’s etc to be displayed in these corners.

Intended Results:
• At the end of the project, 60 head teachers and 120 teachers in Mauritius will have been trained on marine ecology principles and on how to use the education materials developed by Reef Conservation Mauritius under the first GEF Small Grants Programme funded project such as the posters on marine environment, the 2 sets of Flashcards, Human impacts on the Lagoon and the Discover the Lagoon. They will also have been trained on the use of the Teacher Pack, Discovering the ocean world, developed by Shoals Rodrigues.
• Through the continuation of the work with the National Centre for Curriculum Research and Development (NCCRD) of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources, key topics on marine sciences will have been integrated in the standard 5 and 6 text books of primary schools. It is expected that this integration of marine sciences will have a national impact in the years to come as all the primary school students will be using these text books.
• Environment clubs and environmental corners in 60 schools will have been set up. 2400 students, 60 head teachers and 120 teachers will have participated actively in the project and in extension 2400 families will have been reached.
• To reinforce what has been done at school, field trips will be organized so that the children can discover and respect the marine environment. The Beach Resource Centre, managed by Reef Conservation staff with support of the Beach Authority, will be a key visit of these field trips.
• In the weeks before the World Environmental Day (WED) a competition will be organized by each school participating in the project, with the support of the Rotary Club Port Louis Citadelle. Each school will do a creative group work on an environmental theme that will be displayed on the WED at their own schools. A Jury will be selected and the best environmental corner/club work will be awarded a prize by the Rotary Club Port Louis Citadelle.
• An exhibition will be organized by Reef Conservation and Partners at the Beach Resource Centre at the end of each project year whereby the best work of the school children will be displayed. All participating schools, families and the general public will be invited. The exhibition will show the whole process of the project and the work done. This exhibition will also be an opportunity for all the school children that have participated in the project to see the bigger picture and to realize that if people work together on the same subject, even if everybody is working only on a small part of it, that a lot can be achieved. The press will be informed and invited so that the project will have a national impact.

The proposed activities are highly relevant to the GEF Small Grants Programme Country Programme Strategy under the themes of environmental protection and biodiversity conservation. The project will also build local capacity through training of teachers on marine protection and conservation issues.

The total cost of the project is Rs 3,780,000. The amount requested for funding from the GEF Small Grants Programme of the UNDP towards the costs is Rs 1,365,000. Rs 1,395,000 of co-funding is projected from a range of partners namely Rotary Club of Port Louis Citadelle, Barclays Bank, Veranda Grand Baie, Veranda Resorts. These organizations have already been contacted and have shown a keen interest to support and participating in the project. Other potential sponsors have been identified and will also be approached for their support. We are very grateful for all the support and initiatives given from their sides to make this project possible.
 

Project Snapshot

Grantee:
Reef Conservation (formerly Marine Conservation Management Consortium)
Country:
Mauritius
Area Of Work:
Biodiversity
Grant Amount:
US$ 50,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 135,776.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
Project Number:
MAR/SGP/OP4/RAF/07/05
Status:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
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Grantee Contact

Mr. Sameer Kaudeer
 

Address

Morcellement Pereyscape, Les Flammants Branch Road
Péreybère ,

SGP Country office contact

Mrs. Pamela Bapoo-Dundoo
Phone:
(230) 213 53 84
Fax:
(230) 212 14 11
Email:

Address

2nd Floor, Sugar Industry Pension Fund Building, 1 Remy Ollier Street
Port Louis, Mauritius

Country Website