Green Pack for Central Asia

The Green Pack
Cooperation
Basic project module
Product structure and components
Innovative aspects

A. COOPERATION

In 2000 the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC) submitted to Toyota a programme idea on supporting environmental education and education for sustainable development (ESD) through the development and implementation of an innovative multimedia educational package for school children aged 11-15 in Central and Eastern Europe.

The Green Pack project was supported by Toyota in its pilot phase for Poland. Similar education Packs have been developed for Hungary and Bulgaria in 2002-03, the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 2003-04, and recently in Russia (2004-06) – the regions of Moscow, and St. Petersburg – the last one with co-financing from the Ministry of the Environment of Finland.

There are several parallel Green Pack programmes supported by other donors:

  • in 2004-06, in Albania with the support of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • in 2005-07, in Azerbaijan with the support of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the British Petroleum
  • in 2005-07, in Turkey with the support of the EC LIFE Third Countries Programme, the Italian Ministry of the Environment, and the Toyota Motor Europe
  • in 2006-08, in Macedonia (FYRM) with the support of the Austrian Development Agency

An English version of the Green Pack was launched during the Fifth Ministerial Conference Environment for Europe in May 2003, and the Green Week initiative of the European Commission in Brussels in June 2003.

The REC has presented the cooperation with donors as a model of efficient partnership on sustainable development by taking part in several international forums and expositions on education for sustainable development, namely:

  • the Side event on Education for Sustainable Development during the Fifth Ministerial Conference “Environment for Europe” in Kiev, in 2003
  • the Green Week (organised by the European Commission) in Brussels, in 2003
  • the 12th Meeting of the OSCE Economic Forum in Prague, in 2004
  • The High level UN/ECE Ministerial Meeting on Education for Sustainable Development in Vilnius, in 2005
  • The 1st South East European sub-regional workshop on the implementation of the UN/ECE Strategy for ESD in Athens, Greece, in 2005
  • Didacta Expo on ESD in Hanover, Germany, in 2006

The REC has also been able to promote the Green Pack product and methodology at other Forums on ESD such as:

  • The Subregional Meeting on ESD for Central Asia, organised in cooperation with OSCE in Almaty in 2004
  • The Geneva Expo on Sustainable development in 2005
  • The 2nd International Forum on ESD organized by UNESCO and the Chinese Government in Beijing in 2005

In January 2007, the REC promoted the Green Pack product, activities and results achieved so far before the European Parliament in Brussels.

B. BASIC PROJECT MODULE

The Green Pack programme goal is to build capacities, transfer know-how and establish the basis for further developments in the field of Education for Sustainable Development in Central and Eastern Europe and worldwide.

The project module in each country includes three basic phases: a/ feasibility study, b/ country-specific Green Pack development, and c/ teachers’ training and Green packs’ dissemination

a/ Feasibility study

During this phase REC experts visit the beneficiary country to analyze the concrete challenges and the local conditions. They meet with the relevant local partners, including national and local institutions and organizations that could play a significant role in the next phase. Preliminary plans, structure and content of the Green Pack is defined in details, with an aim to synchronize the product with the national curricula and educational standards. An analysis of the existing school resources (computer equipment, projector software, electronic networking technology) helps to indicate in which format the educational resources should be produced, e.g. whether the CD-ROM, printed materials, videos or combinations are preferable and whether supplementary material already exists or must be prepared. A project team is established to adjust and approve the action plan and the appropriate time frame. The team includes REC experts, local experts and teachers/educators.

b/ Development of a country specific Green Pack

In close cooperation with valuable local partners the REC experts begin working on the development of the Green Pack materials. The most appropriate (in the context of the beneficiary country) and successful Green Pack components from the previous Green Pack versions are selected and translated into the local language. A national working group (NWG) is established. Experts in environmental education from national institutions, universities and educational centres are invited to evaluate the most successful Green Pack components and their adaptation and to help define the format of the Green Pack and its layout. National experts provide input on the environmental issues of most relevance to the beneficiary country and contribute with specific case studies. Furthermore, the project team considers more precisely the age groups to be targeted and the anticipated duration of the use of the Green Pack. The exact format of the Green Pack, accompanying instruction manuals and multi-media accessories is finalised after the preparatory discussions have taken place. After having obtained the final approval from the Ministries, production of the whole circulation (several thousand packs) of the Green Pack commences.

c/ Training of Trainers and Green Packs’ dissemination

Local partners start to play more and more significant role at this phase. A training of trainers seminar is organized, where local partners are trained by the international and local experts in how to train teachers to use the Green Pack materials. The Green Packs developed under the project are handed over to the local partners, who are responsible for distributing these to schools and for training the teachers in how to use the material. Copy-rights for the country is passed on to the NWG. All master copies are given for free to this group – thus they can continue the improvement and up-grading of the educational kit and produce the next circulations if they so desire.

C. PRODUCT STRUCTURE AND COMPONENTS

The Green Pack is a multi-medium environmental education curriculum kit primarily intended for European primary school teachers and their students, although it can also be used at other levels of education. It focuses on particular aspects of environmental protection and sustainable development and includes a variety of educational materials such as a teacher’s handbook with lesson plans and fact sheets for students, a film collection with animated clips and educational films, an interactive CD-ROM with extensive information on various environmental topics and a dilemma game. Thus, the users of the pack will be able to follow lesson plans, complemented with video presentations and additional information from the CD-ROM and its links to similar websites. The Green Pack emphasises the formation of new values in students and the setting of a new model of behaviour at school, at home and in society rather than simply the accumulation of knowledge in particular environmental areas. In this context, students are, above all, partners with the teachers in the accomplishment of various activities, discussions, role-plays and decision making. The main messages of the pack are also effectively distributed to other members of the family and society via the students and teachers.

Structure

The Green Pack includes 22 topics related to environmental protection and sustainable development, divided into five chapters:

  • Environmental components: air, water, soil and biodiversity
  • Threats to the environment: urbanisation, noise, waste and chemicals
  • Human activities and impacts: energy, transport, industry, agriculture, forestry and tourism
  • Global challenges: climate change, ozone depletion, acidification, and issues affecting seas and oceans
  • Values: ethics and values related to consumerism, human health and the environment, citizens’ rights, and responsibility for the Earth’s future

Each of the main Green Pack components — the CD ROM, the teacher’s handbook, the film collection and the dilemma game — follows the same structure.

Teachers’ handbook

The handbook is intended primarily for European teachers and their students. Its core elements are the lesson plans, which can be combined with the other components of the Green Pack: the video cassettes, CD-ROM and dilemma game. Each of the environmental topics is covered by one or more of the lesson scenarios. The scenarios are structured so as to provide users with information about the major concept, relevant subjects, materials needed, time and place, objectives and methodology. The introduction presents basic information on the issue and users are advised to look for more information in the relevant section of the CD-ROM. Before an activity begins, teachers can find various fact sheets and schemes at the end of each lesson plan to be photocopied and distributed.

A table presenting schematic information on environmental topics, lesson scenarios and their appropriateness to the different school subjects, as well as the recommended video films and clips, is enclosed at the end of the handbook.

The activities described in the handbook have a guiding, rather than compulsory character. They are intended to stoke the teacher’s imagination and lead to the organisation of events similar to the ones suggested, but meeting the particular needs and abilities of the students.

CD-ROM

The CD-ROM is especially designed for teachers and educators working in the field of environmental protection and sustainable development. It provides information on the 22 main environmental topics structured as follows: general information on the topic in its context, what the challenge is and how to overcome the problems, some case studies, and what each of us can do about it.

The information is presented in texts, pictures, photos, maps, tests, interactive tables and illustrations, and video clips. Links to useful international and national websites are also provided throughout the CD-ROM. The lesson plans, which are the same as those in the handbook in PDF format, can be downloaded and used as classroom activities.

Film collection (video cassette, CVD or DVD)

Approximately 180-minute films’ collection (in either video, CVD or DVD format) includes about 30-40 video clips, educational films and documentaries. Information about which of them relate to the 22 environmental topics can be found in the summary table enclosed at the end of the teacher’s handbook.

Dilemma game

There are 22 case studies (one for each environmental topic) organised as a dilemma game. Each case study presents a situation and a number of possible choices for dealing with the problem, as well as comments on the positive and negative aspects of each answer. By working through the dilemmas in this game, teachers and students can engage in in-depth discussions on particular aspects of the conflict between environmental protection and economic development, and train themselves in understanding and respecting different opinions and building consensus.

Website
There are already two Green Pack web-sites: in English – http://greenpack.rec.org, and Bulgarian – www.green-pack.org, developed to further support the Green pack implementation. A third one, on Russian (in Russian and English), could be found at: http://greenpack.rec.org/ru/index.php

D. INNOVATIVE ASPECTS

Inspired by the political process “Environment for Europe”, the Green Pack educational materials interprete its sofisticated political messages (on implementation of the sustainable development concept in the context of large democratisation of Europe) by adapting them and the supporting information for the specific target groups of educators, teachers, and students.

The Green Pack:

  • includes a large spectrum of topics on development and environment presented in their environmental, economic and social context
  • presents the specific challenges consequatively in their global, continental (European or any other continent or sub-region), national (could be federal as in the case with Russia), and regional (for example, the Moscow and St. Petersburg regions from the Russian Green Pack) as well as at personal level (what is the role of every citizen in supporting the sustainable development of the society)
  • provides attractive and easy to use data, and presents the main challenges before societies today with various means of information (printed, video, virtual) – the users of the pack are able to follow lesson plans, complement them video presentations, hold role-plays with the interactive dilemmas and augment the lesson with additional information from the CD-ROM and its links to relevant websites)
  • emphasises on the formation of new values in students and the setting of a new model of behaviour at school, at home and in society, rather than simply the accumulation of knowledge in particular areas. In this context, students are, above all else, partners with the teachers in the accomplishment of various activities, discussions, role-plays and decision making
  • pays special attention to development of proactive students’ position on the different challenges and provokes further spreding of knowledge and skills among the other family members
  • provokes discusion with the other local community stakeholders on ways to achieve sustainable development

The methodologu applied by the REC during the development and adaptation of the Green Pack includes close cooperation:

  • at national level – with national authorities responsible for the economic, social and environmental development of the society
  • at professional level – with institutions, organizations, universities and NGOs with valuable capacity in the field of sustainable development
  • at individual level – with destinguished educators, scientists, politicians and decision-makers, involved in depth at national or international level in practical implementation of the concept on sustainable development
  • at international level – with political, business and not-for profit organisations (such as OSCE, UN/ECE, Toyota, Television Trust for Environment, British Petroleum, and others promoting sustainable development world wide

This methodology encourages active involvement of local partners in adaptation and up-grading of the educational materials and later on, gives in their hands the teachers training and the products’ dissemination. Thus, the local partners remain further motivated to improve the Green pack quality, produce next circulations and train next groups of teachers.

For more information:
Kliment Mindjov
Head Department “Education and Capacity Building”
The Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe
9-11, Ady Endre ut, 2000 Szentendre, Hungary
Tel: (36-26) 504-069 Fax: (36-26) 311-294 E-mail: kliment@rec.org
http://greenpack.rec.org/ru/index.php