Schools celebrate a bioliterate, sustainable Viet Nam
Ha Noi, 9 June 2014 – Students strutted across the stage presenting outfits and accessories made from repurposed materials: the products of their creativity. Parents, teachers, and audience members watched in wonder as the students donned dresses, hats, suits, and shirts made from discarded CDs, aluminium cans, plastic bags, bottles, and paper, demonstrating that meeting the challenges of climate change and environmental degradation will require awareness, imagination and resourcefulness.”
This recyclables fashion show was just one of many activities that took place as five communities in Thua Thien-Hue Province celebrated the progress made on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) with support from MOET, UNESCO, and Samsung, during community celebrations that took place on 23-25 May 2014. Other national implementing partners who joined the events are contributing to the development of tools, strategies, and trainings that will be shared with all schools nationwide.
Doang Minh Huong, a teacher at Huong Vinh Primary School with 27 years of experience stated that, as a result of the ESD Initiative, “our community has become more sustainable, safe and clean, and the increasing awareness has taught us how to cope with the environmental challenges of the future in a changing world.” Ms. Huong emphasized that the school events were integral in continuing to raise awareness, engaging and strengthening the link between the communities and their schools.
Mr. Jinuk Shin, Vice President and Leader of the Global Citizenship Group at Samsung Electronics, highlighted the importance of this public-private partnership to reach out to the wider community, stating that the Initiative could not have succeeded with the efforts of just one party. Mr. Shin shared how Samsung is “working to expand the partnership of UNESCO and Samsung” and “looks forward to maintaining a successful partnership with the Government of Viet Nam”. Mr. Cheolgi Kim, President of Samsung Vina Electronics in Viet Nam took part in the presentation of a certificate of achievement to the schools and verbally commended the results.
Nguyen Quang Vong, a motorcycle mechanic whose daughters study the second and fourth grade at Thanh Toan Primary School, stated that since the Initiative began he can see a clear difference between his community and the next: that it is greener, cleaner, and more aware. Vong hopes these community gatherings will continue, raising awareness for other communities. When asked about changes in his own household, Vong said laughingly, “My daughters tell me every day about actions to reduce the family’s ecological footprint: they even have me turn the brightness on the television down in the evenings to save electricity!”
School children were happily surprised to be quizzed by Vice Minister Nguyen Vinh Hien of the Ministry of Education and Training and provided good examples of practical disaster preparedness techniques in their community. Vice Minister Hien was especially impressed when students in only second and third grade at Quang Loi Primary School gave real-life examples of what to do to remain safe during a flood.
Parents and community members cleared an unused swath of land on the school grounds in preparation for the planting of a new school garden in the coming months at Phu Mau Primary School. At Quang Loi Primary School parents and community members worked together to repair a damaged fence around the school. The Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union energetically supported the five school events, organizing games and activities with students and supporting logistics.
School principals and vice principals presented their experiences in making their schools and communities safer and more sustainable through successfully planning and implementing School Preparedness and Community Action Plans. For example, Ms. Vo Thi Khanh, vice principal of Huong Long Primary School, shared the school’s success in tackling challenges such as waste management, pesticide use in the community, improving the school’s electrical system, and conducting swimming lessons for students.
These celebrations were a unique opportunity that brought together programme partners and thousands of participants including students, teachers, school authorities, parents, community members, national and local authorities as well as media professionals and included, traditional games, arts and crafts, and performances from students reinforcing awareness and action on themes of environmental sustainability, biodiversity conservation, bioliteracy and disaster preparedness.
Prior to the events, a training for representatives of the local and national media resulted in building upon media professionals’ capacity and role as agents of change in effectively disseminating messages about climate change, disaster risk reduction, and biodiversity conservation.
These events were highly effective in joining schools and the wider community together to recognize the strides taken to enhance preparedness and action and to emphasize collective responsibility in ensuring that Viet Nam continues to become a resilient, bioliterate and sustainable learning society.
For more information, a summary of Initiative components, strategy, and achievements can be found in the links below.
To read the English version, click here.
To read the Vietnamese version, click here.
For more information, please contact Ha Thi Ngoc Anh, Assistant to the UNESCO Representative in Viet Nam at: ht.anh(at)unesco.org
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