PH schools vie for Southeast Asia’s most eco-friendly learning institutions

Two Philippine schools are vying to be the most eco-friendly schools among member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The Dubinan Elementary School in Santiago City, Isabela and the Ateneo de Davao University’s High School Unit in Davao City will represent the country in the 2015 ASEAN Eco-Schools Awards for elementary and high school categories, to be held from July 29 to 30 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.

The two schools were national champions in the 2013 National Search for Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Schools organized by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), an attached agency of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Organized by the Government of Myanmar, in partnership with the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund and the ASEAN Secretariat, the 2015 ASEAN Eco-Schools Awards seeks to recognize learning institutions that demonstrate values of environmental sustainability and practices and carry out eco-friendly school policies, teaching programs and practices for the benefit of the school and surrounding communities.

This year’s competition was in line with the ASEAN Environment Year 2015 with the theme, “Empowering the Youth for a Green ASEAN Community. 

The criteria for the awards are divided into four: school policy and administration; teaching modules and learning activities; facilities and environmental practices; and partnership and community outreach. 

The Dubinan Elementary School has been nominated for its strong obedience to and enforcement of environmental policies crafted to sustain the government’s programs, projects and activities.

Its teachers impart lessons on environmental protection, waste management, water and electricity conservation, anti-smoking and other pro-environment programs. Their lesson plans are being checked and a series of classroom observation and supervision are conducted to monitor the integration of environmental themes in the school’s curriculum.

Teachers were also trained on the different strategies and methods in teaching and in the preparation of instructional materials suitable to the environmental lessons and to the needs of the pupils.

Meanwhile, the Ateneo de Davao University-High School Unit’s environmental mission is to engage in ecosystems conservation, protection of biodiversity and promotion of renewable energy.

The school’s environmental program named “Ecoteneo” makes the vision of a green and sustainable campus and students living a happy, healthy and ecological lifestyle. It concurs with Ateneo’s slogan, which is “One with the Earth, at peace with humanity, in reconciliation with God.” 

In a related development, the EMB announced that the regional and national screening processes for the 2015 National Search for Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Schools are ongoing.

The competition is a direct response to Republic Act No. 9512, or the National Environmental Awareness and Education Act of 2008. It is co-sponsored by the Department of Education, the Commission on Higher Education, Smart Communications Inc., Nestlé Philippines Inc., One Meralco Foundation Inc., and Land Bank of the Philippines.

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