By Jhon Aldrin Casinas
Three elementary schools recently bagged top prizes in the 2018 Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO)-Japan Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Award.
Ayao-Iyao Elementary School in Lemery, Batangas won second prize with its program “Intensifying Holistic and Organized Livelihood Development through Bio-Intensive Gardening” (I HOLD BIG).
Likewise, the project “Applying Pro-Environment Practices and Local Ideas: A Collective Advocacy Towards an Intimate Care of our Nature” (APPLICATION) of Kongkong Elementary School in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya garnered the third prize.
A special prize for the Best Program Carried out in Small Schools of Less than 250 Students was conferred to Cambitala Elementary School in Pantabagan, Nueva Ecija for its project dubbed “Bahay Kubo (Nipa Hut) Filipino Local Wisdom for Sustainable Development.”
Meanwhile, a vocational school in Indonesia won the first prize.
Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones lauded the winners and all the schools that competed in the environmental conservation tilt. She expressed her “delight and pride” that out of the eight competing countries, the Philippines has the most number of participating schools with 57 entries.
Aside from the three winners, the shortlisted Philippine schools teaching more than 250 students included: Bukal Sur Elementary School, Quezon; MuntingIlog National High School, Cavite; Pagbatangan Elementary School, Negros Occidental; Payao Elementary School, Negros Occidental; Salvacion National High School, Davao del Norte; and South Hill School, Inc. in Laguna.
Furthermore, the Kabayan Central School in Benguet Province that teaches less than 250 students was also shortlisted.
The prestigious international award was organized by SEAMEO and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan (MEXT), in cooperation with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Asia and the Pacific Regional Bureau for Education.
With this year’s theme: “Applying Local Wisdom for Environmental Conservation,” the award recognizes the efforts of schools in promoting “local wisdom for environmental conservation through community engagement that create mutual beneficial partnerships, deepen student learning experiences support student growth, and sustain the society.”
A total of 94 entries received from Southeast Asian nations including Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand joined the contest. India also placed an entry.