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EFS Schools

St Mary’s College – reflections

Anamantoo Boni Bangari – St Mary’s College, Teacher & EFS Mentor

“The English verb “educate” derives from Latin infinitive mood  “ēducāre”(1st.conjugation) which is the intensive form of  the verb “educĕre” (3rd.conjugation) originally  meaning “to draw out”. Searching  the Internet for the definition of the word ‘Education’, I came across this: “the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life. “

Unless I am mistaken, it would seem that we have drifted away from the very purpose of Education! Whilst most educational institutions are busy imparting secular knowledge to millions of students worldwide, what avails our innate potentials that remain latent in us and without which we cannot be a wholesome being?

‘Education for Sustainability’, EFS is through my experience, the programme that has imbedded the missing link of the educational puzzle.  In EFS, ‘the student’ is the very core of a value-based education meant to develop his intrinsic values and relate him to other people and his environment. Based on a systems thinking approach that is infused in educational activities, the student progressively gets to feel his interrelatedness with all that surrounds him. His notion of being a fragmented entity of the world is soon re-established into his realisation of being a primordial link in all worldly matters and the ecological balance. He becomes more responsible in his actions once he gets to realise their implications.

Working with the students in the EFS programme has made me realise that sustainability can only be achieved in education if all subjects are interrelated and their overall outcome caters for the development of the student at the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels. Being a Design and Technology teacher, I have the possibility to relate applied Mathematics, Physics, Art, Socio-Economic and Cultural factors to Design processes. But this relationship would be incomplete if I fail to mention about the impact of each Design process on our planet, be it in terms of the depletion of our natural resources or its impact on the environment. Somehow, my exposure to learning from nature and in nature through the EFS programme inspires and challenges me as a teacher to always look for ways and means to relate the academic to the natural world, for the benefit and development of my students.

The transition has stated at our school community level, embarking officially through a pledge, the manager, the rector, teaching and non-teaching staff along with students, to pave the way towards EFS.  We are conscious that without everybody on board, the programme will not be sustainable. Parents, the community, the population are also key players for the success of the programme. Our greatest challenge will be to inspire many more through our work to change their mindset and join hands with us.

So far, our work has been acclaimed by many local schools and St. Mary’s College (R.Hill) will soon be on the TV highlights through a documentary on EFS on the national channel. I am confident that whatever is being done, together with this publication will positively contribute to the success of the EFS programme.”

St Mary's Botany and Farming Club

St Mary’s Botany and Farming Club

Stephanie Deruisseau, St Mary’s College, Teacher & EFS Mentor

“I joined the “Education For Sustainability” programme in January 2012 not knowing exactly the kind of adventure that was waiting for me. Participating in this programme changed my perspective as I came to realize how respect for natural environment is in fact respect for oneself. I was gradually becoming closer to my inner self and to other’s feelings.

As I am responsible for the food component at school, I am involved in the education of adolescents on the importance of having good eating habits for their health and well-being. This makes me grow a sense of fulfillment as I meet these students at an important stage of their lives where they start to take responsibility for their food choices.

My challenges initially were mainly related to the choice of food that I thought would be worth taking into consideration in the Ecological Footprint Analysis. I had to be objective, bearing in mind the variables such as the cultural backgrounds, religious beliefs, and socio-economic factors which influence the food habits of my colleagues, and our students. However, time is not enough when we are deeply engaged in following a direction: as a result of our actual educational system, we as educators tend to confine teaching to mostly what is examinable rather than broadening it to other aspects of life. Therefore, whenever it is possible, I try to relate chapters of the subject being taught to concrete ways of living sustainably. I use to take my Travel and Tourism students to “green” sites, where they get in touch with nature through seemingly insignificant situations such as feeling the sun on their skin, hearing the wind blow through the trees or feeling the smell of moist soil walking down the paths.

I hope that these experiences make them more aware about the importance of nature and act as a trigger to live more responsibly.

Finally, I believe that although schools actively participate in inculcating ecological consciousness into kids, authorities and, commercial and non-commercial organisations should also be participating in this cause. Sensitisation campaigns, allocation of funds and communication programmes just as those being done for other social problems that affect our community at large should be extended to ecological issues as well.”

Green Marians Club - Nature Camp

Green Marians Club – Nature Camp

Ecological Footprint - Arts competition

Ecological Footprint – Arts competition

1 Response

  1. Big clap for this article! Very inspiring! I am so happy that such changes are happening in the Mauritian educational system :D :’D If I was still in high school I would have been so keen to participate in an EFS program :)

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