KUALA LUMPUR: The Natural Resources and Environment Ministry hopes to introduce Environmental Education in schools and universities to help develop civic mindedness and increase awareness on environmental issues.
Its minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the ministry will hold talks with the Education Ministry on this matter upon finalising the proposal to introduce Environmental Education as a separate subject in schools and varsities.
"I have directed the secretary-general (of the ministry, Datuk Seri Azizan Ahmad) to get things done (in gathering details on the scope of environmental education to cover).
"We will then talk to the Education Ministry to make Environmental Education one of the subjects taught in government schools," he told a press conference here today after attending the ministry's Innovation Symposium 2017.
Wan Junaidi said the subject is needed to raise civic and social consciousness among children and to produce citizens with environmental values, who are concerned with protecting the environment.
"Look our rivers... despite telling people not to litter and throw rubbish into the rivers, many still do it. They fail to listen because they lack civic conciousness.
"This is why we must inculcate the habit from young and educate children on the importance of preserving the environment. In South Korea and Japan, for example, children are taught to clean and do chores since young.
"Here in Malaysia today, some call it child labour if children were asked to do some chores.
"We hope with the introduction of the subject, we will have citizens who are concerned with environment protection and sensitive to environmental issues such as pollution, recycling and waste management."
Meanwhile, commenting on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's Facebook post last night where he had pledged to look into uncontrolled pollution affecting rivers in the country, Wan Junaidi said he will work together with the Selangor government to seek ways to best treat the rivers.
"We still have a third world mentality despite being a country moving towards a developed nation status.
"There are industrial and domestic waste polluting the rivers. This must be managed," he added.