Two primary schools win awards in EkoSkola programme

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Two primary schools win awards in EkoSkola programmeEkoSkola Annual Seminar 2009-2010 (Gozo) Nature Trust (Malta) held its Annual Ekoskola National Seminar for Gozo on Friday, the 6th of November 2009, at Gozo College, Xewkija primary school.

The seminar was officially opened by Chris Said, Parliamentary Secretary for Public Dialogue and Information, and by the Minister of Gozo Giovanna Debono. Also present for the event was PL MP Dr Justyne Caruana.

NTM Executive President Vincent Attard said that Nature Trust has for the last 20 years believed, and has been active in Environmental Education. During the year 2002 NTM was approached and encouraged by various European NGOs to become the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) Malta representative and introduce the FEE programmes in Malta. In the same year Nature Trust launched the EkoSkola programme with six schools. Today the organisation runs ES (EkoSkola), YRE (Young Reporters for the Environment) and Blue Flag. EkoSkola has been so successful that it has now become one of the major Environmental Education programmes in Malta. Mr Attard said that it is encouraging to see that students today are eager to do their share to improve the environment and also teach adults to share their eagerness – thus this programme has resulted in an overspill into the community.

NTM President said that the Ekoskola Programme, despite costing the NGO thousands of Euros each year, is a promising solution for the future. EkoSkola in Gozo has a bigger challenge since Gozo has embarked on the Eco Gozo project. Students participating in the EkoSkola Programme can be instrumental in the implementation process of Eco Gozo. EkoSkola has proved that empowered children can be and are responsible citizens.

Mr Attard concluded that the environment is not just the fauna and flora but the environment in the village, the school and the community, the air we breath and the water we drink. NTM now hopes to launch the Green Key and Community 21 programmes since it strongly believes in sustainable development and such programmes help all to think global and act local. NTM thanked the Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs, the Ministry for Education, HSBC and Wasteserv for believing in this programme and supporting it all the way

The National Coordinator for Ekoskola Dr Paul Pace explained what the Ekoskola programme is all about. He gave details of how the programme developed and how it has become an innovative force in local schools. Schools ae taking up the programme because they feel that it presents a tool for whole school development.

Going on to the international scene Dr Pace said that the programme today involves over 8 million students from 47 different countries … with Bahamas, China, Uganda and USA being the latest addition to the family. This international dimension gives the ES programme the unique characteristic that the award being given to schools is an international award of quality. Minister Debono and Dr Said then presented the Green Flag to Gozo College Xewkija primary. This was the first time that Xewkija school was awarded with the Green Flag. Xewkija Primary is the second school in Gozo to be awarded the Green Flag, the first being Xaghra Primary who was awarded the flag last year.

Gozo College Nadur primary was awarded the Silver award. This year a total of 11 schools will receive the prestigious Green Flag award.

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