by Phuoc Buu
HCM CITY — University students in HCM City who have been chosen as envoys for an international programme have developed plans to improve primary-school students' awareness about sanitation and environmental protection.
|Young people clean up an area near the beach in the central city of Da Nang as part of their effort to raise public awareness of environmental protection. — VNA/VNS Photo Le Lam
Mai Tran Hanh Nguyen, a student at HCM City's Foreign Trade University, said similar programmes launched by primary schools in her home province of Phu Yen had not been effective.
"There have been many painting contests or knowledge contests for primary-school students, but they had no results," Nguyen said. "Students continue to dump waste everywhere and they are not taking action to protect the environment."
Nguyen was one of eight students from Viet Nam selected for the first round of an international programme, the Bayer Young Environmental Envoys, organised by the United Nations Environment Programme and healthcare material producer Bayer Group.
Every year, the programme selects in the final round about 50 university students from around the world to take part in a two-week training course in Germany about environmental issues.
The eight students' projects were chosen among 90 projects submitted from students at 65 universities and colleges in Viet Nam.
After the projects are carried out for two months, the creators of the most effective projects will be selected to participate in the training in Germany.
Nguyen said she could create more interesting ways to influence children's minds about the topic, such as puzzles that have fairy – tale characters performing environmental-protection activities.
"Kids love puzzles, but the fairy-tale characters are too familiar, so I have created new content for them," she added.
Nguyen is now making 100 puzzle boards with all the pieces, and will teach an extracurricular class as a pilot project.
Another envoy, Nguyen Ngoc Huyen My, wants to teach kids about the environment by broadcasting fun, meaningful stories on the broadcasting systems of each school.
My, who is also student at the university, is producing CDs of the stories to give them to schools in HCM City's Cu Chi District, where she lives.
She also planned several extracurricular classes on environmental topics that are designed to be fun, and are related to the broadcasting project.
Both Nguyen and My pointed out the continuing number of environmental problems required that youth should have access to activities where they can voice their concerns.
"Kids in primary school are at an age where it is preferable to begin to educate them about environmental issues," said Nguyen. "Higher awareness will affect their actions."
My said she believed that students had been poorly taught about environmental issues.
"Teachers at my former primary school have encouraged me to go ahead with the project. It might help kids become more aware of the importance of good sanitation, even for themselves," she said. — VNS