Environment, Media Subjects in New High School Syllabus

Environment, Media Subjects in New High School Syllabus Environment, Media Subjects in New High School Syllabus

The “significant gaps” in the school curriculum will be bridged with the introduction for the first time of two new subjects ‘environment’ and ‘media literacy’ in the 10th grade from the start of the next school year (Sept. 23, 2016), said Education Minister Ali Asghar Fani.

Environmental education will allow individuals to explore and engage in nature and take action to help protect the environment. “As a result, students will develop a deeper understanding of the ecological system and learn skills to make informed and responsible choices and decisions on environmental issues,” he said, quoted by IRNA.

Media literacy, which is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and create media tools, will help the youth and young adults to understand better “the complex messages we receive from TV, radio, Internet, newspapers, magazines, books, billboards, video games, music, and other forms of media,” Fani said.

Some revisions have already been made in the school curriculum up to the ninth grade with the aim to prepare students to live “a more meaningful life in the modern world.”

As part of the plans in environmental education, the ministry introduced 60 environment schools (known as ‘JAM Schools’ in Persian) with the collaboration of the Department of Environment (DoE) in the current academic year (started Sept 23, 2015).

The schools were set up in five regions of the country with different climates: Tourani, Hirkani, Arasbarani, Zagros, and the Persian Gulf climates, with 10 schools in each at primary, junior high and high school levels; the remaining 10 are in Tehran. The first JAM school opened in the southwestern province of Bushehr.

Results of the assessments and evaluation of the schools over the next 10 years – the pilot phase – will help transform all the schools in the country to JAM schools in the future.

The eco-friendly schools rely on renewable energy sources and are designed to conserve energy and reduce water consumption and paper waste. Half-day tours are conducted weekly for students to experience close contact with nature.

  DoE Guidelines

The staff, teachers as well as students in the JAM Schools, are committed to observing environmental protection guidelines developed by the DoE.

The aim of the green schools is to increase students’ and staff awareness on environmental issues and help transfer this knowledge into positive environmental action among students and also in the wider community.

So far, 56,000 teachers have received training to teach in green schools across the country.

But as the process to turn all schools in the country into the JAM model will take time, a MoU was signed between the DoE and the Education Ministry by which the latter is committed to introduce, in the meantime, environmental subjects in the curriculum of all high schools. The changes will be effected from the next school year in the 10th grade textbooks.

At present, 58 countries including Japan, Malaysia, China, Iran and Russia have eco schools, as part of an international initiative to encourage action on sustainable development in education issues. Around 13 million students across the world are taught environmental lessons by an estimated one million teachers.

On the necessity for media literacy in schools, the minister said “In the information age, media literacy education is a necessity. Iran is not the only country that has decided to take action in this respect; Japan and Canada are two leading countries in the field.”

Media literacy has had many positive impacts on students who have received the relevant education. They know what they want from the media, and therefore are actively engaged in analyzing and evaluating media content.

Two groups of authors are working on the textbooks for the new curriculum.