ABU DHABI, 10th May, 2017 (WAM) The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, EAD, has announced two new categories within its Sustainable Schools Initiative, SSI, the ‘Environmental Innovation’ and the ‘People of Determination’ categories.
The Environmental Innovation category promotes environmental sustainable creativity and innovation among youth. It recognises schools tackling environmental issues through innovative solutions revolving around climate change, energy, pollution, resources. The People of Determination category recognises members of the community with special needs who are contributing towards a more environmentally friendly and sustainable future.
These two new categories were announced at a ceremony organised by EAD on Tuesday to celebrate the achievements of schools at the 7th session of the internationally recognised SSI. A total of 23 government and private schools were awarded for their considerable efforts in their journey towards sustainability. Recently SSI was considered as a case study internationally on the North American Association for Environmental Education, NAAEE.
The winners’ environmental performance was recognised at the ceremony following two consecutive years of hard work of participating schools for 2015 – 2017. In this edition, a total of 266 entries were received, 55 of which were shortlisted, and of those shortlisted, 23 winners were selected in 5 award categories, including Green School Audit, Eco Clubs, Field Trips, Lead Schools and the Training of Trainers.
The ceremony was attended by Dr. Jaber Al Jaberi, EAD’s Deputy Secretary-General, Dr. Abdulla Zamzam, EAD’s Assistant Secretary-General – Operations, Corporate Services Sector, Khaled Al Ansari, Division Manager of School Services of the Abu Dhabi Education Council, ADEC, and Salem Bin Ashour, President and General Manager for BP UAE.
SSI, introduced by EAD in 2009, is conducted in collaboration with ADEC and sponsored by BP. It is a “whole school” initiative that enables schools to assess and address their environmental impact by rolling out eco-friendly behaviour and practices. It aims to empower schools, teachers and their students to have positive environmental impact. EAD provides them with workshops and resource materials and assesses them through a green school audit management system, as well as assisting them in establishing ‘Eco Clubs’. EAD also provides teacher training and exposes students to experiential learning through hands-on educational field trips.
Speaking at the ceremony, Ahmed Baharoon, EAD’s Executive Director, Environmental Information, Science and Outreach Management, said, “It gives us great pleasure to celebrate the achievements of the 7th edition of SSI, and seeing the schools’ results make us proud of all the SSI achievements.”
He added “This year, 135 schools registered for the session. A total of 3,436 students participated in Eco Clubs where they implemented 348 environmental projects, which reached out to the wider community. Out of these schools, 7,201 students participated in the green school audit to assess their school’s environmental performance. A total of 41,252 students were exposed to outdoor field environmental education through 544 field trips, and 737 teachers have been targeted through training and workshops on the green audit, eco-clubs, and effective environmental educational approaches for imparting classrooms with environmental concepts.”
Baharoon added, “Thanks to the support of our partners and the hard work of the schools and students involved, the Sustainable Schools Initiative continues to grow from strength to strength. We are proud of the success it has witnessed in such a short period. This environmental education initiative is helping to reduce schools’ ecological footprints and just as importantly, it is changing behaviour in communities and amongst a new generation that will be responsible for the future of our environmental and social welfare.”
ADEC’s Division Manager of School Services, Khaled Al Ansari, highlighted the education council’s efforts and contribution in promoting sustainable eco-friendly schools in efforts to lead the way to a green future for the emirate. “One of ADEC’s top priority areas is personifying eco-friendly traits amongst the youth, which will, in return, help create a responsible, well-informed, respectful student, who will not only protect the environment around him/her, but will also spread a passion for eco-friendly initiatives. I am extremely proud of our schools, for taking part in Eco Clubs, and for their efforts experimenting with various environmentally friendly traits.”
Salem Bin Ashour, President and General Manager for BP UAE, said, “BP in Abu Dhabi has been supporting SSI since its inception in 2009. We were so happy to see it moving forward steadily throughout the previous eight years. We are also delighted to see the progress achieved to date, with more than 130 schools participating every year in this programme. It is a pleasure and an honour to be EAD’s partners in this initiative. We appreciate the efforts of EAD, ADEC and the other supporters of the initiative, and we are so proud of the teachers and students of Abu Dhabi Schools who made this initiative a great success.”
Source: WAM News