Recently a delegation from Seychelles attended the third Regional meeting of the Eco-Schools Indian Ocean programme registered for Foundation for Environmental Education. The former programme is being implemented by Comoros, Mauritius, Madagascar and Zanzibar with technical support from Seychelles.
The meeting was held in Zanzibar from the 29th September to 1st October, hosted by COI ISLANDS funded by the European Union in partnership with the Zanzibar National Eco-Schools Committee. The purpose of the meeting was to re-group National Eco-Schools committees and NGOs within the regional Eco-Schools network for phase three of the project, whereby the Eco-Schools programme will be mainstreamed through national education systems and capacity will be built for long-term continuation.
Following on from Goal setting work done during the 2nd Regional Meeting in Mauritius in 2015, the 3rd Regional Meeting focussed on the development of a regional strategy for the Eco-Schools Indian Ocean programme which will include separate national action plans for successful long-term integration and financial sustainability of Eco-Schools in each country.
There were also sessions on evaluation of Eco-Schools, Green flag assessments and teacher training. The group of participants also had the opportunity to conduct visits in three schools in Zanzibar that have registered for the Eco-Schools Indian Ocean programme in the region.
It all started in 2014 when a consultant on behalf of COI/EU ISLANDS consulted technicians from the Seychelles' Ministry of Education and Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change to introduce the Eco-Schools concept to other countries in the region.
From then on, Seychelles has been instrumental in the development and implementation of the Eco-Schools framework in the region.
However, Seychelles is not registered for the said programme because it has its own Eco-Schools framework, which has been up and running for over 20 years now and managed by the Ministry of Education, compared to the Eco-Schools Indian Ocean programme which is part of a global network of Eco-Schools operated by Foundation for Environmental Education.
The International Eco-Schools programme is the largest sustainability schools programme which empowers students to be the change for a sustainable world.
Seychelles is quite fortunate to have established its own sustainability schools programme which has over the years made several real changes in the way public schools operate. Students and adults have engaged with several socio-ecological issues affecting our sensitive environment through learning and action based opportunities that helped to shape them to strive to live sustainably with nature and with each other.
Schools have engaged in a number of Education for Sustainable Development practices such as wide participation in decision making, integration of local and global socio-ecological issues in curriculum, student-centred pedagogy, links between school communities, proper usage and management of resources (water, waste and energy) and embellishment of school grounds, to name a few. It is the result of years of hard-work and endured commitment in pursuit of the sustainable development of its islands that Seychelles was and is still recognised for its valuable contribution in the development and implementation of the Eco-Schools Indian Ocean programme.
Every year, public schools in Seychelles are awarded for their achievements within the Seychelles' Eco-Schools programme. Soon a group of assessors will be assessing primary and secondary public schools on a general criterion and place them on a level based on points awarded and participation in national school competitions.
There is also a special award given to a school for showing best practices in either water, energy or waste management.
The award ceremony for all public schools in Seychelles will take place on Thursday 1st December 2016 at SITE auditorium.
Contributed by the Environment Education Unit of MoE
● For more information about the Eco-schools programme download the leaflet here ●