Singapore, 22 July 2014 – WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) Singapore today signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding with the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) to pilot the campus category of the internationally-recognised Eco-Schools Programme, making it the first post-secondary institution in Singapore to embrace this programme.
The Eco-Schools Programme is the largest sustainable schools programme in the world, operated by the Foundation for Environmental Education involving more than 40,000 schools in over 50 countries. The programme, emphasising on student leadership and community outreach, is administered here by WWF-Singapore. Schools that successfully implement the programme, guided by a systematic seven-step framework for planning and taking action, are awarded the prestigious and internationally-recognised Green Flag. Post-secondary and tertiary institutions that join are known as EcoCampuses.
“WWF-Singapore is excited to welcome ITE on board our Eco-Schools Programme. As the first post-secondary institution to join as an EcoCampus and as a principal provider of career and technical education, ITE demonstrates commitment to shaping environmentally responsible students who can lead the way towards a sustainable future for Singapore,” said Ms Elaine Tan, CEO of WWF-Singapore.
ITE College West will be the first of three ITE campuses to embark on the Eco-Schools Programme, but they are not new to this initiative. Their staff contributed as part of an assessment team evaluating the first-year performance of the current primary and secondary Eco-Schools, awarding three bronze awards and three silver awards for the schools’ progress in environmental sustainability.
As a member of the programme, ITE will benefit from the programme’s structured and step-wise approach, as well as WWF-Singapore’s expertise, to cultivate student leaders who can confidently lead sustainability initiatives on campus and in the community. Upon exemplifying year-on-year achievements in environmental sustainability, they will also be eligible to apply for the Green Flag.
“As educators, we have the responsibility to inculcate the right values in our students, including environmental sustainability. The Eco Campus Programme complements ITE’s existing green initiatives in developing an earth-friendly consciousness and a sense of environmental ownership among our students. This will, hopefully, spur them in taking the lead to further green causes in their future careers and lives,” said Mr Bruce Poh, Director and CEO/ITE.
The three-year Memorandum of Understanding with WWF-Singapore also includes jointly organised talks and conferences for ITE staff and students on environmental sustainability to enhance the technical competencies of the campus community as well as overseas learning trips to visit other Green Flag schools and campuses.
The expansion of WWF-Singapore’s Eco-Schools programme into post-secondary institutions rides on the success of the programme’s pilot year which saw enthusiastic participation from eight primary and secondary schools. Students were involved in several workshops organised on topics ranging from climate change to sustainable seafood, equipping them with the tools and knowledge to lead follow-up initiatives back in their schools and communities. Four local Eco-schools, Kranji Secondary School, Commonwealth Secondary School, Yuhua Secondary School and Nan Hua High School, also had the unique chance to visit other member schools in England to learn from their best practices. Commonwealth Secondary School also had the exclusive opportunity to welcome Hollywood stars, Jamie Foxx and Andrew Garfield to their school as part of their Earth Hour initiative.
Mrs Tan Jong Lek, Principal of Nan Hua High School commented, “The Eco-Schools Programme is important to Nan Hua High School as it advocates a community approach towards environment education which requires staff and students to work closely with the school’s stakeholders like parents, corporate partners and global community, through innovative and creative ways, activities and programmes to promote a sustainable living environment. Nan Hua High School, through the Eco-Schools Programme, hopes to nurture her students to be responsible and active global citizens.”
At the same ceremony, WWF-Singapore also welcomed four more institutions into the Programme: Admiralty Primary School, Ang Mo Kio Secondary School, Canadian International School (Lakeside campus) and Chong Boon Secondary School. Together with ITE, there are now 13 institutions in the programme.
Ms Elaine Tan elaborated, “Awareness of our impact on the natural environment is essential to cultivating a world where humans live in harmony with nature, and what better place to start than in an environment dedicated to learning. We are thrilled by the success and growth of the Eco-Schools Programme in Singapore and are looking forward to bringing on more schools and partners in the years to come.”
WWF-Singapore runs the programme with support and sponsorship from IKEA Singapore, The Silent Foundation and other partners. More information on the Eco-Schools Programme can be found here.
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