Over 320,000 residents benefit from schools’ outreach projects

Singapore, 10 November 2016 – From a humble beginning of 28 submissions, the SEC-StarHub School Green Awards (SGA) witnessed an impressive growth of more than 14 times by reaching out to over 406,000 students in 405 schools, capturing about 56 per cent of the student population in Singapore this year. The realisation of ‘starting young’ can be seen in the almost 50 per cent increase in the number of preschools alone.

Sponsored by StarHub, SGA is a programme administered by the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) to nurture values and skills within our young, enabling them to be environmentally-savvy and proactive in leading and advocating a sustainable lifestyle. To reflect current environmental challenges, a new outreach component was introduced, resulting in an involvement among more than 320,000 students, residents and the wider community.

SGA has grown in popularity over the 16 years since its launch. Amidst the mounting interest in complex environmental issues and in support of our nation’s sustainability plans, the outreach component has become a key criteria for evaluation.

“Since its inception, SGA has played a leading role in raising environmental awareness among our young students. One is never too young to start caring for our planet and we are elated to see students not only becoming more environmentally conscious, but also acting as green ambassadors to their communities. Congratulations to all the winners; while each of them goes home with an award, the biggest winner is undoubtedly our planet. And that alone is a wonderful reason to cheer,” said Ms Jeannie Ong, Chief Strategic Partnership Officer of StarHub.

Schools chose from an array of environmental topics, from building an active and gracious community, promoting biodiversity, to the more popular recycling. Ms Isabella Loh, Chairman of SEC said, “I am very encouraged to see over 406,000 students taking ownership of their future by becoming environment ambassadors. The initiatives add up and do wonders for more than 320,000 residents in their neighbourhood communities. Their interactions have spurred creativity and critical thinking while reminding the public at large, of the need to go green.”

As part of their outreach efforts, 18 preschools collaborated to adopt the Sunda Pangolin at the Wildlife Reserves Singapore. “The ‘I Love Pangolin’ project had raised the awareness of our children, parents and teachers about the conservation of Singapore’s native wildlife, like the SundaPangolins. They learnt how they can help them bypractising the 3Rs –Reduce, Reuse and Recycle and reminding their parents to drive slowly so as not to knock down these endangered animals. At Kinderland, we advocate hands-on learning from young, and this is part of the School’s innovative learning experience that children should be equipped to be life-long learners in addition to being prepared for formal schooling,” said Ms Kelly Wong, Principal, Kinderland Preschool at Woodlands Mart.

Based on audit results, schools qualify for one of five awards ‐ the Daisy, Palm, Hibiscus, Orchid or the top level Lotus Award. A Lotus Sustained Achievement Award is given to schools, which receive the Lotus Award three times in a row, while the Daisy Sustained Achievement Award is presented to preschools for achieving the Daisy Award three times in a row.

SEC also built on the partnership with The Coca-Cola Foundation to launch the inaugural Schools’ Recycling Bin Design Competition in May, turning to the country’s next generation of leaders to design concepts for a new type of recycling bin which will actively encourage recycling, in the classroom and at home. The competition attracted widespread interest from schools across Singapore – which saw a wide variety of innovative submissions from 79 schools. The six shortlisted entries received a total of 4,962 votes on both our online Facebook platform and at the Green Living Exhibition held from 9 to 11 September where the bins were showcased.

Two recycling bin designs emerged winners after vote counts from both the public and a panel of judges. London School of Business and Finance stood out in the above-16-year-old category with their user-friendly, practical and compact design, which is especially ideal for homes with space constraints. In the below-16-year-old category, PCF Sparkletots Preschool @ Tampines West Blk 140-938 (KN) emerged as winner with their design inspired by LEGO - the popular building blocks, incorporating much interaction with games for each recycling compartment.

“From conceptualising the design and creating the prototype, to showcasing the creative recycling bin at Green Living 2016 and garnering votes on different platforms, our Go Green Student Club, staff and students have certainly come a long way – kudos to them! Their effort has made it a grand success and because of their hard work and teamwork, the school is now a step closer, to our vision, in becoming an Eco-Leader in the education industry,” said Zuleha HR, Head of Student Service at LSBF in Singapore.

“We are extremely pleased by the efforts and achievements of our preschoolers, from brainstorming and conceptualising the recycling bin designs to highlighting the importance of saving the Earth and providing an innovative solution through their design. As educators, we encourage our children to take ownership of green projects and are glad we’ve had this opportunity to re-emphasise the importance of recycling to our preschoolers through this competition. We hope the children will be inspired to continue recycling and even motivate their parents to do so,” said Miss Jean Ong, Lead Centre Principal of PCF Sparkletots Preschool @ Tampines West Blk 140-938 (KN).

Come 2017, their designs will be piloted at selected households and schools in the Central and North West District of Singapore. A follow up study will be conducted to test their effectiveness.

Ms Belinda Ford, Public Affairs and Communications Director from Coca-Cola Singapore, was thrilled at how well the competition was received, “It’s encouraging to see how excited and motivated the students were – their designs reflected that energy and remind us that innovative and practical recycling bins can and should be part of our lives. We hope that the competition has helped them better appreciate the true benefits of recycling and understand that they can make a real difference.”

Ms Low Yen Ling, Parliamentary Secretary of Ministry of Education and Ministry of Trade and Industry, and Mayor of South West Community Development Council, officiated the awards ceremony as the Guest-of-Honour and presented the awards at ITE College East.

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