MANILA (September 30, 2022) – Today, 110 educators from 32 countries joined the pilot of the Plastic-free Education Training Program launched by #breakfreefromplastic (BFFP). Since 2019, BFFP has been working with administrators, teachers, and students in shifting their schools away from single-use plastic. This year, BFFP is deepening its engagement with educators through this pilot training program to easily help educators integrate plastics education into their existing curricula. The event was hosted by Antoinette Taus, Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme, and host of the Podcast of Plastic.
BFFP is set to roll out the Plastic-Free Education Training Program in countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The program consists of a plastic-free education curriculum for ages 5 to 18, a training program that will support educators in integrating the same curriculum for their specific needs, and access to an educators’ network, which will serve as a platform for teachers to share resources and best practices with the aim of building an international community of educators committed to helping resolve the plastic pollution crisis. The training program itself is a hybrid of asynchronous and synchronous training sessions that will be housed in Google Classrooms and Zoom.
Educating students and teachers in schools on plastic pollution can help raise awareness and change people’s mindset on the use of plastic worldwide. This project aims to enhance the systemic thinking in young people’s learning spaces and to ensure that teachers are equipped in the education of young people on the plastic pollution lifecycle and its impacts, beyond being a waste management issue.
The youth and education spaces have been driving forces for action and change in the climate, human rights, and pro-democracy movements. There are 1.8 billion people aged between 10-24 years, with almost 90% living in developing countries. This is the largest generation of youth in history, who can connect to one another, build the resilience of their communities and drive social progress and political change. It’s also this current generation that’s most affected by both the plastics and climate crises and that will suffer the most from the effects of these in their adulthood—which means they have a large stake in the outcomes of what we do today. It is now crucial, more than ever, to empower educators in having the right tools to support their students towards a just and plastic-free future. This is also a pivotal point for educational institutions and agencies to embody this plastic-free narrative by providing this knowledge and awareness to young citizens.
ASec. Dexter A. Galban, Assistant Secretary for Youth Affairs and Special Concern of the Department of Education Philippines, said:
“It is essential that we build a culture of awareness and active participation in the fight against plastic pollution. This culture building starts by making our youth, and our young learners as a whole, make more enlightened decisions. We have to make them more involved in protecting our world. Bringing everyone into the fold is essential as the fight against the plastic pollution crisis requires a whole-of -nation approach, and at the same time, a global effort to make a change. With the help of our educators and advocates, we can, and we will make a difference. Rest assured that our office, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Youth Affairs and Special Concerns of the Department of Education will be your ally.”
Mr. Diosdado San Antonio, Manager of the Educational Research & Innovation Office of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Regional Centre for Educational Innovation and Technology (SEAMEO INNOTECH), representing Professor Emeritus Leonor Briones, Director of SEAMEO INNOTECH, said:
“Given how this generation’s future is on the line, education systems need to ramp up the provision of support to the young, in addressing these crises. Historically, young people have been key movers in driving social progress and political change. Today, we see how students across the world continue to move the needle on plastics and climate issues. This underscores the important role of educators in molding and supporting young people as they navigate the complexities of these crises and push for real, long-term change. This support involves access to accurate, timely, and nuanced information; proper guidance as they tread new paths and create solutions; and providing support when they go up against challenges and potentially powerful opponents.”
Mr. Mohammed Muhibur Rahman, Additional Secretary (School Wing) of the Ministry of Education of Bangladesh:
Plastic was once a great invention for our civilization but later on, it also became a curse for us. We need plastics education in every corner, and in every school. It is essential. To those who are working in our country (Bangladesh), we can work together and devise a plan for this movement.”
Ms. Nur Fitriana, Instructional Designer for the Directorate General of Early Childhood, and Secondary Education, Ministry of Education & Culture of Indonesia, said:
“I want to appreciate your presentation that showed not only “how” or “what” to learn about plastic education, but also “why?” Why do you teach about plastic? There are many strategies, and awareness is important not only in schools but also in communities and families. Answering “why” makes it easier to be sustained and continued. Many teachers shall understand that it is not only a concept of “why” we can’t use plastic, but it also encourages the critical thinking of students so that they can innovate and be creative.”
Educators who are interested in integrating our ready-to-use resources can head on over to BFFP’s Plastics Education Website to sign up and receive the materials. If you are interested in joining the training program, you may pre-register through bit.ly/bffpeductraining.
Educators for a Plastic-Free Future has been made possible through the contributions of more than 3 million participants of the Dutch Postcode Lottery, and support from the Plastic Solutions Fund.
About Break Free From Plastic – #breakfreefromplastic is a global movement envisioning a future free from plastic pollution. Since its launch in 2016, more than 2,000 organizations and 11,000 individual supporters from across the world have joined the movement to demand massive reductions in single-use plastics and push for lasting solutions to the plastic pollution crisis. BFFP member organizations and individuals share the shared values of environmental protection and social justice and work together through a holistic approach to bring about systemic change. This means tackling plastic pollution across the whole plastics value chain—from extraction to disposal—focusing on prevention rather than cure and providing effective solutions.www.breakfreefromplastic.org
Note to editors:
Full recording of the virtual launch event may be accessed here (Passcode: E1X.=YXV)
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