Concerted effort needed to encourage students to go 'green'

Getting students to be environmentally friendly outside of school was one of the issues that was brought up during an environmental education panel discussion hosted by Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Grace Fu on Thursday. &nb
Getting students to be environmentally friendly outside of school was one of the issues that was brought up during an environmental education panel discussion hosted by Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Grace Fu on Thursday.  -- ST FILE PHOTO

SINGAPORE - It is not enough for schools alone to implement green initiatives. A concerted effort involving teachers and parents is needed to encourage students to be environmentally-friendly outside school.

This was one of the issues that came up during a panel discussion hosted by Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Grace Fu on Thursday.

About 100 principals, vice principals and environmental education coordinators from primary and secondary schools and junior colleges attended the event.

The session on environmental education was the last of five consultation sessions organised by the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) before the Committee of Supply debate.

When Ms Fu asked if students today are more environmentally conscious compared to a decade ago, one person in the audience noted that while students have become more so, it is still difficult for adults and teachers to be role models for them.

"Maybe it is because we didn't really grow up in that environment," she added.

Another issue that was thrown up was how students can be encouraged to adopt environmentally-friendly habits even when they are not in school.

Mr Aaron Loh, Commonwealth Secondary School's principal, agreed that this would definitely be challenging, and depended on the mindsets and attitudes of the students.

"If they do have these mindsets, they will be more inclined to take up such habits," said Mr Loh.

National Environment Agency chief executive officer Ronnie Tay, one of the panelists, stressed that that educators have a very important role to play

"Building values is the only sustainable way for us to care for the environment. And where do the values get built? It is actually in schools," he said.