Manila Department of Education teachers bid for greener schools despite limitations

More than 700 Department of Education Manila teachers attended the forum-workshop Cool Green School in their bid to make their schools greener despite challenges like lack of ground and garden space, planting sources, and even funds to maintain their Gulayan sa Paaralan program on October 25, 2016.

The forum-workshop conducted at F. Ma. Guerrero Elementary School discussed why and how teachers can motivate their students to adopt ecological ways to start the green revolution in their schools. Challenges that they need to address include increasing daily garbage output , lack of soil, ground space, plants and seedling sources, organic soil, and even gardening materials.

The forum and workshop, however, provided sufficient information and skills demonstration to meet problems related to waste and garbage. The teachers were shown how to create pots, trowels, watering materials, seedling cultivation, composting, and maintaining their gardens with very limited resources.

More importantly, the teachers were also updated of the current trends in the environment that greatly affects health, quality of living, as well as learning. Speaker Margaret Tadeja, author of 3Rs of Fun in Waste book, said that studies have reported a positive correlation between trees in the school and the learning of students.

She also pointed out that garbage should be considered a resource for gardening, especially in public schools as it provides cans and plastic containers for pots, watering, trowel, and biodegradable waste that can be instantly turned into soil while composting. The Asian Development Bank reported in 2005 that Metro Manila generates 1,500 tons of garbage daily.

Romeo Ayos of the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) demonstrated to teachers how to start their own vegetable gardens using waste papers, disposed plastic containers, and fruit crates. The teachers were also guided how to make their composts out of wastes and materials available in the school.

Cool Green School forum and workshop is a joint project of Bituen Organization and Facebook groups Education is our Tool and Gising na Pilipinas! It is supported by DepEd and BPI. The forum workshop is on current tour in Metro Manila schools prioritizing schools with higher marginalized student populations. Organizers hope to bring the forum-workshop in all DepEd city schools.

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