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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Energy schooling to save trees

Energy schooling to save trees

Schoolchildren are set to learn about the importance of energy conservation. From

November this year lessons on wood energy awareness will become a complusory part

of the national curriculum.

The move is a response to falling forestry levels. In the last three decades more

than 40 per cent of the country's forests have been cut.

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) has agreed to work with two NGOs

on a program it hopes will educate students on the importance of wood energy and

its role in the environment.

Proposed to the ministry by the Wood Energy Network of Cambodia (WENetCam) and Cambodia

Fuelwood Saving Project (CFSP) it will begin in two or three schools in Phnom Penh

before being expanded to the whole of the capital and finally throughout the country.

Lessons will be given to primary and high school pupils explaining the importance

of wood energy and how to conserve the nation's forests through the use of alternative

fuels such as biogas, which is produced from animal and human waste.

It is hoped that teaching youngsters will spread the conservation message since they

will be taught energy saving techniques that can be put into practice at home.

Valerie-Anne Taillandier of CFSP held a meeting with government officials from five

departments in March, including representatives of Teacher Training, Department of

General Education and Non-formal Education Department.

She said: "With their agreement we can provide all the information needed and

finalize specific lesson plans with teachers."

En The, Director of the Non-formal Education Department, said he is very interested

in the proposal.

"If it is a success it will reduce the number of trees cut down not only among

people who use wood as fuel for cooking, but also businessmen involved in illegal

logging," he said.

"We hope people will increasingly learn what is happening to our forests and

they will feel ashamed about what they committed. I completely agree to put it in

my non-formal education program. I have already had documents such as books, movies

and posters educating people about the importance of forestry and this project will

bring that information to even more people."

WENetCam is financed by the Asia Regional Cookstove Program (ARECOP). It was established

in 2000 by CFSP in co-operation with the NGO Centre d'Etude et de Développement

Agricole Cambodgien (CE`DAC). CFSP is funded by the European Union.

Ton Sa Im, the government's Director of Pedagogical Research, said she was happy

to have NGOs helping in education, but first they have to submit a suggestion and

ask for a permission from MoEYS before bringing their lessons to classes.

"We do not prohibit them, we are very pleased to let them help us, but we have

to check their lessons before educating students in order to make the lessons fit

with the level of students," Sa Im said.

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