Schools’ Environment Programme
2018 marked the 20th anniversary of the Jamaica Environment Trust’s (JET’s) flagship environmental education initiative, the Schools’ Environment Programme (SEP). SEP is the longest running programme of its kind in Jamaica, having been delivered in over 350 Jamaican schools, with an estimated reach of over 300,000 students and 600 teachers during its lifetime.
SEP addresses the generally low levels of environmental awareness among Jamaican teachers and students, and provides on the ground examples of good environmental stewardship. Participating schools use a whole school approach to carry out campus-based activities in four main areas: managing garbage, greening of school grounds, strengthening or establishing an environmental club and environmental research. The programme also encourages the development, monitoring and ongoing evaluation of environmental action plans, and introduces environmental issues via workshops for teachers and students. SEP also promotes environmental outreach to the wider school and local community, and celebrates schools’ achievements via an annual awards ceremony.
In September 2016, SEP adopted new components – the SEP core, new and partner school programme, and a research day competition. SEP core schools were established as those which had participated in the programme for more than a year, and consistently complete the programme at a satisfactory level. These schools do not require multiple school supervision visits to implement campus-based activities. New SEP schools have either never participated in SEP or have not participated in over seven years, requiring greater JET supervision than core schools. SEP partner schools are those which work closely with the National Environment and Planning Agency’s (NEPA’s) Public Education Branch. The first annual research day competition for participating schools was held in June 2017. Top performing SEP schools featured their environmental research and were awarded for outstanding achievements. The new SEP elements encourage schools to place focus on specific SEP thematic areas for campus-based activities, promoted project based learning, and increased the level of interest in the programme allowing SEP to reach a wider audience.
SEP started in 1997/8, and at its height, was Jamaica’s largest environmental education programme. SEP is currently being funded by a grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Authority (NRCA) which is being administered by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA). Several donors from Corporate Jamaica also provide support for SEP, specifically the annual research day and awards ceremony.
Click on the links below to learn more about how to implement an environmental education programme in your school: