Eco-Schools

The Eco-Schools programme is designed to encourage curriculum-based action for a healthy environment. It is an internationally recognised award scheme that accredits schools that are committed to continuously improve their school’s environmental performance.

When schools register with the programme, both teachers and learners commit to an ongoing process of developing lesson plans and learner-centred activities that are aligned with Revised National Curriculum Statement (RNCS). They choose at least three focus areas, develop lesson plans and school improvement plans and record their progress in a portfolio. Portfolios are assessed at the end of a year, and successful schools gain Eco-School status and are awarded a green flag. Schools may keep their flag and status for a year, after which another portfolio is submitted and assessed.

How will the Eco-Schools programme benefit a school?

This curriculum-based programme offers opportunities to:

  • Improve the school environment
  • Build young people’s confidence and sense of citizenship through participation
  • Increase environmental awareness
  • Involve the local community
  • Reduce litter and waste
  • Reduce costs by saving water and energy
  • Gain local publicity
  • Develop relationships with other schools around the world make a commitment to continuously improve environmental performance at their school.

Background

The Eco-Schools Programme was launched in South Africa in 2003. This pilot programme is supported by WWF-SA and the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA), endorsed by the Department of Education and funded by Nampak. Currently, there are almost 1000 schools registered with the programme. Eco-Schools is an international programme of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) that originally started in Europe in 1994.

About 6 000 schools have earned green Eco-School flags in over 47 countries around the world. Over 21 000 schools are registered with the programme. But the South African initiative differs significantly from the programmes run in Europe, in that it has been re-orientated to focus on strengthening the national curriculum and supporting its implementation, thereby supporting educators.

Eco-Schools in the Helderberg node

The Helderberg Node co-ordinator for the ECO–Schools Programme worked with 13 schools in 2009, 6 schools from 2008 and 7 who joined this year. All 13 schools have registered for 2009.
The following schools participated in 2009:

  • ACJ Pakade Primary School – Silver certificate
  • Emfundisweni Pre-Primary School – Silver certificate
  • Mondeor ECO School – Green flag
  • Newberry House Montessori School – Green flag
  • Beaumont Primary School – not available yet
  • Somerset College Preparatory – Green flag
  • Sir Lowry’s Pass Primary – Bronze certificate
  • Macassar Primary School – Bronze certificate
  • Macassar High School – Green flag
  • Umnqophiso Pre-Primary School – Bronze certificate
  • Strand Secondary School – Bronze certificate
  • Marvin Park Primary School – Bronze certificate
  • Firgrove Primary School – Bronze certificate