Strengthen environmental education and match this with concrete school-based activities that will preserve and protect the environment.

This is the marching order of Education Secretary Armin Luistro to both public and private schools nationwide as contained in DepEd Order No. 52 s. 2011. The move of the education chief is pursuant to Republic Act 9512 entitled “An Act to Promote Environmental Education and for other Purposes.”

“I urge all public and private schools to take the lead in promoting environmental awareness by enhancing environmental education and by pursuing activities in schools that nurture the environment,” said Luistro.

Toward this end, DepEd directs all public and private schools to intensify lessons regarding environment on all science subjects, in classroom discussions, drills and activities.

To integrate environmental protection in related learning areas, Luistro instructed the DepEd’s Bureau of Elementary Education, Bureau of Secondary Education and the Alternative Learning Systems to review the existing curricula and adjust them accordingly.

Relative to this, Luistro also ordered the creation of Youth for Environment in School Organizations (YES-O) in all public and private elementary (Grades 4 to 6) and secondary schools and have them registered in the Division Office. The YES-O shall take the lead in implementing environmental activities and advocacies of their respective schools.

Student membership should be voluntary and no membership fee shall be collected from the students. “We want environmental concern to grow naturally from the hearts of our young that is why we give them enough elbow room to grow but with clear guidelines,” explained Luistro.

Subject to the rules and regulations of the schools, the YES-O may be allowed to conduct fund-raising activities within the school premises to support environmental programs and activities. YES-O shall be under the supervision of DepEd’s Center for Students and Co-Curricular Affairs.

Meanwhile, Luistro also instructed school officials and teachers to use instructional materials such as books, visual aids, teaching guides and materials to reinforce the teaching of environmental issues.