The Minister of the Environment Keit Pentus-Rosimannus confirmed the action plan of environmental education, according to which 1.8 million euros will be contributed to training of teachers and professionals of environmental education, created new illustrative educational materials for environmental education centres as well as primary and secondary school students this year.
"We have a reason to thank and praise Estonian teachers, who are very interested in environmental training programmes and who can create interest in nature also in their students with their eager and motivated attitude," the Minister of the Environment Keit Pentus-Rosimannus said. "In turn, teachers need high quality and interesting educational materials in order to catch the attention of even the most restless kids. Thus, we will contribute to training of people as well as modern educational materials."
Training accounts for the largest slice of the budget of environmental education. This is a continuing action, in the framework of which lecturers, teachers and professionals of non-formal environmental education receive additional training based on specially developed curricula. Total of 140 initial education teachers and 60 teacher training university staff receive additional training at the University of Tartu. 275 teachers and 150 non-formal environmental education professionals will be trained at the University of Tallinn. Additionally, electronic collections concentrating themes handled in trainings and containing theoretical perspectives, methodical guidelines, descriptions of learning activities and best examples of independent projects together with a commentary will be prepared.
A large part of the budget is intended for creating educational materials for environmental education centres. New and innovative educational materials will be finalised by March 2015.
50 video-clips, which unify themes of nature protection and sustainable development, are being made in order to consolidate the acquired knowledge. The clips are good support materials for teachers when handling and illustrating different topics and, by doing so, it helps to make the class more interesting and urges students to undertake further research into the subject.
In autumn, regional conferences will be held, where the promoters of environmental education and teachers have an opportunity to gain new and important information, exchange knowledge and improve their skills. Previous conferences have been very popular and 700 people visit it on average.
Info-days and roundtables of environmental education network will continue in every county. In September, the Environmental Board and the State Forest Management Centre and other promoters will introduce possibilities provided in Estonia and also at county level.
The environmental education development programme is financed at a rate of 85% by the instruments of the European Social Fund, Estonia contributes 15%.