A programme of the Foundation for Environmental Education, Eco-Schools aims to raise students' awareness of sustainable development issues through classroom study as well as school and community action.
The Eco-Schools International Programme was developed as a response to some of the needs identified at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in 1992. Presently being implemented in over 70 countries, the programme is now being initiated in India by the Centre for Environment Education.
The main goals of the Eco-Schools programme are
- Democratic and participatory student led programme
- To help cultivate responsible behavior towards the environment
- Facilitate hands on learning
Eco-Schools is an international certification programme
The Eco-Schools methodology encompasses Seven Steps that a school has to adopt. The process involves a wide range of stakeholders, with students playing the central role.
After a period of participation, an evaluation of the success of these initiatives and the methodology is undertaken, and the whole Eco-Schools programme for each school is assessed.
The purpose of the 7 step process is
- to structure the programme around pedagogy,
- to enable schools to plan in a participatory and democratic way,
- to assist in better implementation
- to make the processes clear and to enable schools to achieve learning outcomes.
Each of the Eco-Schools 7 steps has been described in detail further in this manual.
Eco-Schools programme provides an excellent opportunity to students to learn to identify environmental issues of concern to their schools and the immediate community. It provides teacher and students a structured methodology, to put into place an action plan. It provides schools with a certification and international benchmarking. Some of the benefits of the programme include:
An Improved School Environment and enhanced student competencies
- Involvement of the Local Community
- Increased Environmental Awareness
- Pupil Empowerment
- Financial Savings
- International Connections
Schools have to effectively put in place the seven step methodology for action based learning. Over the duration of the programme schools have to demonstrate completion of work in a minimum of three thematic areas. The awards thus given away would include
- Handprint flag awards for each of the thematic areas completed
- Eco-Schools trophy and international certification to the school.
- Eco-Schools International Flag identifying the school as an elite member of the select few
- Rights of use of the Eco-Schools logo on school stationery/ publications of the school for the award duration.
- Invitation to attend the annual Eco-Schools award ceremony.
Schools which have been awarded the Eco-Schools award could apply for international funding including that available under the Global Forest Fund. They could also interact with other national and international Eco-Schools.
The Eco-Schools programme in India is presently open to the primary classes (I-V). If you are a high school, students from your primary section can be involved in the Eco-Schools programme. The programme is open to schools from any streams – state board, CBSE, ICSE and International Schools. The programme is being offered in the English language.
At any given point of time, the school when awarded with the Eco-Schools award could use the certification for a period of three years, after which the school will have to reapply for the same.