The project supports the efforts of Khlong Pittaya Longkorn (Bangkok) Primary School in promoting itself as a model school in mangrove conservation and environmental protection in Southeast Asia. As initial undertakings, SEAMEO SPAFA will collaborate with the school to publish a booklet on the school’s involvement in mangrove rehabilitation, as well as publications produced by the school that can be used as teaching materials for other schools concerned with environmental conservation. These materials will be disseminated and also made available online to share with schools in Southeast Asia that are interested in engaging in similar environmental education.
Mangroves are immensely significant to many countries in Southeast Asia where mangrove plantations are grown in coastal regions, bearing ecological, social and economic benefits for fisheries and communities.
Scientists and researchers have for a long time been emphasising the importance of restoring mangrove forests as deforestation in parts of the region reached alarming levels. The loss of mangrove areas creates serious implications for coastal livelihoods and the efforts in mitigating natural calamities.
Built amid a mangrove area, the Khlong Pittaya Longkorn School is set in a lush natural environment, surrounded by more than five hectares of mangrove plantations and a lake. For several years now, the school authorities and students have been engaged in preserving the environment, with the aim of replenishing depleted natural resources. As part of their endeavour, the curriculum and daily activities in the school incorporate environmental issues integral to the school community for developing awareness in conservation. The efforts of the school, founded in 1956, are firmly based on its vision of education under the principles of Buddhism. In addition, the school endorses the ‘sufficiency economy’ philosophy (espoused by his Majesty the King of Thailand), which advocates the ability to be self-sufficient by living within means.
This proposed project will allow SEAMEO SPAFA to co-operate with a school and local community in raising awareness of environmental conservation through educational and practical activities. It will also help to publicise the experience of the Khlong Pittaya Longkorn School in environmental conservation, and promote its attainments as a way to motivate other schools. Currently, the school lacks the financial and logistical capability to produce quality books and text materials for the above-mentioned purposes.
SEAMEO centres can assume the role of helping to conserve and restore mangrove habitats, and disseminate information that enhances public awareness and appreciation of the importance of mangroves. This project can serve as a model for schools in the region to engage in similar endeavours. It can also be further developed into an inter-SEAMEO collaboration by pooling resources and contributing specific capabilities toward conserving mangrove areas through partnering a school/local community in each country, and linking them. As it is common for the stated mission of most SEAMEO centres to include establishing partnerships, this collaboration initiative can inspire multi-lateral co-operation of centres within the SEAMEO organisation. Additionally, such a collaboration among SEAMEO centres, environmental agencies, NGOs, etc. in conserving a natural resource base, and co-operating with a school to develop educational materials and a living learning centre, will represent SEAMEO centres’ commitment in promoting SEAMEO unity and its multi-disciplinary effectiveness.
- Support the Khlong Pittaya Longkorn School’s efforts in mangrove conservation and environmental protection
- Promote the Khlong Pittaya Longkorn School as a model educational institution in environmental protection in Southeast Asia
- Link the Khlong Pittaya Longkorn School with other institutions and organisations for exchange and co-operation, and adopt the school as a SEAMEO SPAFA affiliate in fine arts and heritage conservation.
• Khlong Pittaya Longkorn School community
• Other school communities in Southeast Asia
- Collaborate with the school to publish a booklet on the school’s experience and involvement in mangrove rehabilitation.
- Collaborate with the school to produce publications that can be used as teaching materials for other schools concerned with environmental conservation.
- Disseminate the above-said materials and also made available online to share with schools in Southeast Asia that are interested in engaging in similar environmental education.
- ‘A School in the Mangrove: Environmental Conservation’ Publication (6000 copies in English and Thai)
- Materials incorporating mangrove conservation knowledge and environmental protection (in English and Thai)
Publication of the booklet and materials on the school’s involvement in mangrove conservation will benefit other school communities in Southeast Asia that are interested in engaging in similar environmental education. They will contribute to the literature (both printed and online) on environmental issues, and more awareness on the protection of the environment. Khlong Pittaya Longkorn School will also gain recognition as a model educational institution in environmental protection in Southeast Asia.
The outcome of this project will further the development of a programme to involve other SEAMEO Centres so that it may become multi-disciplinary in approach, appropriately using the expertise and knowledge of various Centres to assist schools in protecting and conserving environmental resource areas.
Furthermore, a SEAMEO’s One-Centre-One-School plan may even be initiated with the objective of eventually linking all the schools in mutual support and multi-lateral collaboration.
The long-term objectives of the collaboration with the Khlong Pittaya Longkorn School include developing a Learning Centre within the vicinity of the school that will provide knowledge on mangrove and environmental conservation. This learning centre will host materials, display exhibits and show products created from natural resources in the area. Such a centre can be realised in further project activities in the years ahead. Collaboration with the school forms part of a larger programme that will involve developing similar projects with other schools, and ultimately linking several schools, including those in other parts of Southeast Asia, in a mangrove conservation and education mutual support group.
Partnerships with other SEAMEO Centres, NGOs, international organisations and private sector companies will be established to sustain the environmental efforts in co-operation with the school. With increased recognition due to more publicity regarding its conservation activities and achievements, the school will receive more support for its development on a sustainable basis.
An immediate plan to maintain the sustainability of the programme will be to engage researchers and experts from other SEAMEO Centres to carry out research and other activities that will enhance the efforts at the school, which should provide a case study for those interested in a school community that is involved in environmental conservation.