Just as the Annual Conference marked August, September was marked by a major conference for staff of schools participating in the Eco-Schoolool program. Representatives of 37 public primary and secondary schools from 29 municipalities spoke in the past two days about how much they have achieved in various activities for responsible use of water, electricity, and waste management, creating environmentally responsible schools, and teaching new generations about the importance of environmental protection. Of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Conference for Teachers of Eco-Schools. More than 100 people participated in the conference, among which, in addition to representatives of schools, there were also representatives of Eco HUBs who work closely with schools.
Within the program, a Certification Mechanism has been created, a methodology that describes the steps and activities that 37 selected primary and secondary schools need to implement to become Eco-Schools. The main goal of the Certification Mechanism of Eco-Schools in BiH is to include environmental protection on the principles of sustainable development in the work of educational institutions in BiH, through the implementation of activities that will introduce visible changes in attitudes and behavior in everyday life and work of students and staff. but also wider social communities.
Challenges faced in the implementation of the Eco-School Certification Mechanism, successful cooperation with local partners, innovative approach to work, as well as ways in which scientific research and creativity can enrich the teaching process, are some of the topics discussed in five panels during the conference.
The first panel was dedicated to the challenges in carrying out the activities, and the biggest one was, of course, the coronavirus pandemic, ie the anti-pandemic measure due to which classes were not held regularly. Nevertheless, most schools managed to at least start implementing the planned activities and, most importantly, animate the students.
There are several ways in which schools conducted activities. Thus, for example, representatives of the Elementary School “Meša Selimović” Zenica, Elementary School “Vuk Karadžić” Trebinje, Secondary Technical School Tešanj, and the Fourth Elementary School Mostar talked about how scientific research can reveal and highlight the environmental problem and encourage its solution. The schools that are part of this project are already applying science and research in their work to advocate for solving environmental problems. Thus, the school “Vuk Karadzic” from Trebinje carried out an action of remediation of rainwater and wastewater from the schoolyard, while the Secondary Technical School Tesanj began to use solar energy more intensively with the help of the purchased solar bench and solar panel.
Of great importance for the implementation of activities, as well as for the ultimate goal of raising the awareness of the young generation, is the networking of schools with other local actors, to which a special panel was dedicated. The school is an important factor in every local community and that is why its connection with stakeholders in the local community such as public and private companies, local authorities, civil society organizations, and the media is extremely important.
Some schools presented ways in which they integrated the field of environmental protection into the curriculum, into different subjects. Sarajevo Secondary School of Electrical Engineering, for example, introduced the drawing of solar panels in the subject Technical Drawing, a lesson in the history of polluted air in BiH in History, and a lesson in Chemistry on the consequences of acid rain…
“This project gave both external and internal motivation to the employees and students of our school to give a personal contribution to raising awareness for environmental protection by participating in various activities. Through this project, we got the opportunity to confirm that we are on the right path “, said the eco coordinator of the Gymnasium” Visoko “Sanita Nukić.
Future eco-schools will continue to implement activities throughout the current school year, followed by the awarding of eco-school certificates to those implementing the certification mechanism.