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$5.9 Million To School Environment Programmes

21 May 2002

Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons is delighted the Government has agreed to fund an initiative promoted by the Green Party to improve environmental programmes in schools.

The $5.9 million project over four years will set up advisors at colleges of education who can provide environmental resources and advice for teachers.

"This money will help teachers provide up-to-date, stimulating and creative lessons on the environment," said Ms Fitzsimons.

"I hope it will contribute to future citizens being better informed about the serious ecological problems facing the planet. When our children are adults, they will be better able to make real choices about whether their actions will be part of the problem or part of the solution."

Green Party Education spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street said the initiative would take the pressure off teachers, instead of weighing them down with yet more work.

"Ecological awareness is as fundamental to learning as literacy and numeracy, and this initiative is intended to help it become pervasive through the curriculum, instead of an add-on subject.

"The advisors will be able to provide professional development help, model lesson plans, resource kits, research and new ideas for teachers.

"It's fantastic that teachers will now have a good resource to go to for complex environmental issues - in terms of climate change, sustainability, genetic engineering and the way the economy is utterly dependent on the environment - just to name a few, that it's hard for teachers to keep up-to-date.

"This will make sure that children all over the country get a similar high standard of ecological education."

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