Roadshow marks 30th year of eco-schools programme |15 September 2023
By Laura Pillay
The Ministry of Education and the environment department are commemorating the 30th anniversary of the inception and implementation of the eco-schools programme.
This initiative, conceptualised by educator Michele Martin in 1993, has gained popularity over the years, being adopted by all public schools.
Private institutions joined the programme in 2019.
Eco-schools Seychelles is coordinated by the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Section within the Ministry of Education, in partnership with the Public Education and Community Outreach (PECO) Division in the Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change, and Environment (MACCE).
To mark this significant milestone, the ESD and PECO organised a roadshow at the Camion Hall garden yesterday.
Minister for Education, Justin Valentin, emphasised the programme's importance, highlighting its role in nurturing experts, specialists, activists, and environmental leaders.
“The eco-schools Seychelles aligns very well with the Unesco’s concept of sustainable living. The Ministry of Education subscribes to this ideology, and we believe that through the eco-school movement, it will be possible to make sustainable living become the lifestyle of every citizen in vulnerable countries, and in countries where the environment is the centrepiece of its economic growth and development, such as the Seychelles,” he stated.
Dr Valentin also voiced his aspiration for the programme’s integration into the school curriculum to instil a love for the environment in all students.
He praised Jeanette Larue and Shane Emilie for their contributions to shaping Eco-Schools Indian Ocean.
The roadshow aimed to acknowledge the programme's history and achievements while emphasising its significance and the involvement of various organisations, partners, and the community.
Schools collaborated based on their regions to showcase arts, crafts, and club activities, focusing on themes such as programme management, environmental curriculum integration, networking, and environmental management practices.
Interactive activities, including quizzes and games, were available at various stalls.
The eco-schools programme empowers the younger generation to actively engage with their environment, starting in the classroom and extending throughout the entire school, fostering change in the wider community.
Director general for educator within the MACCE, Jeanette Larue, has been involved with the programme for some 29 years. She attributes the success of the programme to the close collaboration between the Ministry of Education and MACCE.
“Our aim is, no matter where you work, you need a solid foundation in the environment. We need decision-makers to be well-sensitised about the environment. That is why it is important that it is incorporated across all subjects in schools,” Ms Larue noted.
Nathalia Lawen, a dedicated environmentalist pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Climate Change at Aberystwyth University, has been active in participating in environment-related activities during her studies.
In 2017, she received the Most Valuable Environment Student award and had the privilege of visiting Aldabra as part of the programme.
“It brings the conversation to the table. Not all students from the eco-school programme will choose a career in the field of the environment, but wherever they go, they have the consciousness and will act in a sustainable manner.”
The accompanying photos show some highlights of the roadshow.
Photos by Louis Toussaint