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New Enviroschools funding welcomed by WWF

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

WWF-New Zealand is welcoming today's announcement by the Government to reinstate much-needed funding for the Enviroschools and Te Aho Tu Roa initiatives that help children across New Zealand learn the importance of sustainable lifestyles, with positive impacts for schools, communities and the nation as a whole.

The announcement that $7.6 million is being invested in both programmes over the next four years was made today by the Minister of Maori Affairs, Dr Pita Sharples, and the Minister for the Environment, Amy Adams.

WWF's Education Programme Manager, Wendy Barry, said: "We congratulate the Maori Party for negotiating support for such a successful and important programme.

"Environmental education empowers and inspires young people to live within the planet's limited resources. It gives children a greater understanding of the way people's lives impact upon the local environment and the planet.

"Enviroschools is more than what is taught and learnt in the classroom, it encourages communities to value our natural heritage and take action to protect it. WWF knows, from our work with many schools across the country, that the programme has made great progress at preparing young New Zealanders to participate in today's ever-changing world."

The announcement today goes some way to recovering ground lost by the 2009 budget cuts where the Government stopped funding for the advisory service, Enviroschools and Marautanga Taiao programmes. While the new funding is welcomed, WWF believes even further action is required to fully enable education to address the challenges of sustainability.

Wendy Barry says: "There needs to be a learning pathway right from early childhood through to tertiary education. A poll commissioned in 2011 found that more than 9 out of ten New Zealanders (94 per cent) think sustainability should be taught in all schools, from early childhood to tertiary level. "

WWF would like to see reinstatement of sustainability as a priority for the Tertiary Education Commission, and to instigate a working group for 21st century learning that explores education models that can contribute to sustainability and a world-leading education system.

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