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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Marine Environment Education Program Scoping Study of Schools and Teachers College in Madang

Mrs Adolphina Luvongit posing with Madang Teacher’s College trainee students at Ambarina Primary School.

By Adolphina Luvongit for MAKATA (Edited by Job Opu)

Date: August 2013
1.  Introduction
Marine Environment Education Program (MEEP) is an education and awareness program pioneered and developed by the Mahonia Na Dari Research Institution, a Papua New Guinean National Non –Government Organization.
Mahonia Na Dari Institute is based in the Nature Center adjacent to the Walindi Plantation Resort about 15 minutes’ drive along the coastal road towards the West coast.  Hence the MEEP since its inception and introduction has been targeting school children from primary and secondary schools in Kimbe and the surroundings. Teachers have also been targeted by the program and quite a number have gone through the program. The program has also extended to other New Guinea islands provinces as funding permitted Mahonia Na Dari focuses on marine education and awareness as its major program activity.

1.2 What is MEEP?
MEEP is basically a marine environment education program with a fully developed curriculum and associated course materials etc. There is a theory side of the MEEP which is taught inside a lecture room setting and a practical side of it which introduces students to the marine world through snorkeling and observation of the various unique marine habitats including mangroves, seagrass and coral reefs. Students also utilized the wet laboratory by bringing specimen to further study with the aid of the microscopes. 

The MEEP covers concepts in basic marine biology, marine ecology, threats, conservation and resource management. The resource materials used are designed in accordance to the syllabus used in the PNG education curriculum.

Kimbe Bay where Mahonia Na Dari is situated is a very ideal setting for such program.

MEEP is conducted by Mahonia Na Dari to coastal schools and communities of West New Britain. The program was initiated in 1997, and has expanded to cater for the needs of schools outside of the province.  Intensive MEEP is offered to three (3) secondary/high school students. The participants in the program are particularly interested students who meet requirements (as set out by MEEP). They fill in an application and selection criteria are used to select student.

MEEP is run on Saturdays (so that it doesn’t clash or affect normal school activities) for 9 weeks and it ends with student participants undertaking a marine awareness of what they have learnt to accessible primary schools. The participants are presented with a certificate of participation upon completion of the program.

The program is aimed to instill conservation ethics into the young generation as we believe they can influence future decision making. This program is also tailored to suit the different level of audience. MEEP is also conducted in teachers training to primary school teachers to complement the stand alone subject, “Environmental Studies”.

2.  Aims and Objectives of the Scoping Study
A short study was undertaken with the following objectives:
·         Identify needs of school in Madang in marine environment education.
·         If the MEEP was relevant and applicable to the Coastal schools of Madang
·         How MAKATA and Mahonia Na Dari could partner and carry out the MEEP to Madang schools and teachers colleges.
·         A possible costs and budget to carry out such program.

3.  Methodologies
Two basic methods were used is this study.
The first method involved a consultation process with various stakeholders in Madang were consulted to get the feel of the MEEP and its applicability in Madang Schools. Random groups were selected and consulted with. This formed part of the assessment.
The second method was a more detailed method involving the use of questionnaires on an evaluation form, with more direct questions to be answered by individuals.  Students were taken through a MEEP and given an evaluation form to fill in. Refer appendix  for sample questionnaires. The results were then collated and analyzed.

4. Outcomes of the survey
The study was to see how MAKATA could partner with Mahonia Na Dari with its’ Marine Environmental Education Program and run the MEEP with coastal schools and communities of Madang. A mini – research was conducted to identify the needs of schools and island communities of Madang in relation to their livelihood and the marine resource management now and in the future.
A scoping study was conducted in Madang in conjunction with Marine Environment Education training to the third year students of the Madang Teachers College. Mahonia Na Dari specializes in the education and awareness of the marine environment. Madang Teachers College is the only institution in the country that has signed an MOU with the Organization for the annual training of the final year students (formally the second year students).

Whilst in Madang to conduct the training and because timing was very short, a needs analysis survey at the Ambarina Primary school to 12 participating teachers was rapidly undertaken, and several random visits to other schools and communities were also undertaken. .
Based on the survey accompanied by the evaluation form filled in by the third year students, the following observed were noted:
·         Majority stated that the program was very important to them as teachers to be more knowledgeable about the marine environment so they can be able to better teach in schools and carry out awareness in their local communities.
·         They also mention the need for the training to be conducted to the field teachers.
·         During the awareness at Ambarina Primary School, both the field teachers and students were learning at the same time. This was an indication that field teachers lack desired knowledge about the marine environment. (refer to evaluation form on the index page).
·         The field teachers also expressed a need for the Marine Environment Education Program (MEEP) to be accessible to them through trainings, as well as a need for resource materials to effectively teach topics on basic marine biology, ecology etc.
·         A random visit was also made to several communities where couple of leaders within the conservation areas, expressed a need for such program to reach their schools and communities.
·         At least engaging an outsider to do awareness is better to create an impact in people’s attitudes, as using community leaders most often has not been enticing to the community.
·         As part of the training in marine conservation, reference was made to marine conservation in the locality. Very little was known about the only leatherback turtle conservation area in Papua New Guinea, using conservation deeds.

5. Recommendation
Mas Kagin Tapani (MAKATA), a local leatherback turtle conservation group in Madang can adopt the Marine Environment Education Program (MEEP) from Mahonia Na Dari to engage with schools and communities for the education and awareness program.
For MAKATA to take this program on board, these are some of the factors it must consider:
Ø  A learning resource center such as the conference room, the library and the office space,
Ø  Research facilities such as a laboratory, storage space, boat & engine
Ø  The administration and the project officers,
Ø  The logistics – vehicle & driver
Ø  Accommodation.

Hence it is strongly recommended that:
1.    MAKATA’s  Board secure sufficient funding to conduct full time MEEP, or
2.    In the interim, MAKATA can sign an MOU with Mahonia Na Dari (MND) to cater for the program in the schools and communities in Madang. MAKATA can secure funding to engage the MND program officer to conduct the MEEP to schools and communities in the project sites as well as other coastal and island schools and communities.

6. Costings for MEEP
The MEEP costings can be provided for schools in Madang should the MAKATA Board require it.


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