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.