Peatland education for schools in Indonesia

The IKI supported the development of curricula and teaching materials for Elementary and Junior High Schools in West Kalimantan, Indonesia.

Peat ecosystems play essential livelihood roles in West Kalimantan

Indonesia launched its Long-Term Low Carbon Development and Climate Resilience Strategy in 2021. One important commitment is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 through zero cumulative emissions and sequestration, of which forestry and land use sector play a significant role. “In the Strategy, the word peatland is mentioned 27 times, which highlights the importance of peat ecosystems in achieving Indonesia's climate change targets”, said Dr. Sonya Dewi, Director of ICRAF Indonesia, when delivering her opening remarks at the official launch of the peat and mangrove education curriculum in Kubu Raya District of West Kalimantan in November 30, 2022.

Peat ecosystems play essential livelihood roles for the communities living there and in surrounding areas. Unfortunately, peat ecosystems are often poorly managed due to a lack of knowledge about their characteristics and best management practices. Recurrent fires exacerbate peat degradation and the destruction of natural habitats. Awareness and knowledge about peat management need to be instilled from an early age through multiple measures, including formal education since elementary school. Even though literature about peat produced from accumulated knowledge and research is abundant, such materials must be carefully repackaged to suit school children’s needs in educational materials, particularly as formal curricula in schools.

The IKI supported the development and introduction of the peatlands curricula

Designing a local curriculum on peat needs a concerted effort from relevant stakeholders. The IKI funded Peat IMPACTS project implemented by ICRAF, collaborates with the Education and Cultural Agencies in the targeted districts, Ogan Komering Ilir (OKI) and Banyuasin Districts in South Sumatra Province and Kubu Raya District in West Kalimantan, and national government partner, Peat and Mangrove Restoration Agency (BRGM), NGO (e.g., Blue Forest), and multistakeholder forum (e.g., the Watershed Forum of South Sumatra) in developing a local curriculum.

The project first developed a common understanding, awareness. Then it established a team to produce curricula and materials and design teaching and capacity-strengthening programs for schoolteachers. The team consists of school teachers, principals and evaluators. The curricula and teaching materials were tested in selected elementary and junior high schools in West Kalimantan and South Sumatra.

It took one year for the curricula development team to complete the tasks, upon which the curricula and teaching materials were launched on 30 November 2022. The launching ceremony were attended by all relevant agencies at district, provincial and national level, including the Indonesian Peat and Mangrove Restoration Agency, and the representatives of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology and all headmasters of public primary and junior high schools in the district. 

The launching ceremony of the peat curriculum in West Kalimantan in Indonesia was carried out with all the stakeholders involved.

In the launching ceremony, the Head of Kubu Raya District, Muda Mahendrawan, commended the team’s achievement and the processes. He also invited educators to proceed with the peat education processes, with the hope that such success stories can be expanded to other teachers, parents and community members. The Head of the Center for Curriculum and Learning, Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology, Dr. Zulfikri, M.ED, expressed his appreciation and proposed the peat and mangrove curriculum be integrated into all subjects.

Kubu Raya District Head Instruction No.1444A, 2022, mandates that all elementary and junior high schools adopt the curricula starting in 2023. In South Sumatra, the official launch of the local curriculum will be held in March 2023.

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