Scotland Recognised for World-Leading Commitment to Environmental Education

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Scottish Government Minister for Learning, Science & Scotland’s Languages, Alasdair Allan MSP, yesterday (Thursday, 25th February) received an award from the prestigious international Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) in recognition of the Scottish Government’s continued commitment to providing all school children with sustainable development education through the Eco-Schools Scotland programme – supporting the Government’s commitment to delivering a low carbon economy.

The Minister accepted the award at Holyrood and outlined how the Government is supporting the delivery, in Scotland, of the largest sustainable schools programme in the world – which currently reaches more than 800,000 pupils – and encouraging all of Scotland’s educational establishments to embrace Learning for Sustainability.

Eco-Schools is operated internationally by FEE and managed in Scotland by Keep Scotland Beautiful; the charity also received an award from FEE recognising its work for more than 20 years to make Eco-Schools an outstanding international success.

The initiative connects more than 15 million children, young people and educators through sustainable development education in 58 countries worldwide and in Scotland alone supports more than 3,700 schools – almost 2,000 of these have achieved prestigious green flag status.

Since its roll-out more than 20 years ago, Scotland has become a world leader in delivering the programme, and is the first country to:

  • fully integrate Learning for Sustainability into the curriculum
  • link the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to the Eco-Schools programme

Minister for Learning, Science & Scotland’s Languages, Dr Alasdair Allan MSP, commented “Today’s award cements Scotland’s position as a leading player in the international Eco-Schools movement. The initiative is very successful Scotland-wide in encouraging pupil-led action for the environment across a range of issues, including water and energy use, sustainability and waste minimisation.

“The Scottish Government is working with Keep Scotland Beautiful to encourage schools in Scotland to maintain their commitment to the initiative and keep improving and innovating their approach to Eco-schools.

“Programmes, such as Eco-Schools, play a vital role in helping Scotland to realise its ambitions and move towards a low carbon, zero waste future. By providing opportunities for learners to engage with their own environment, the initiative equips our children and young people with the skills, values and attributes for life and work in a sustainable and fair Scotland and contributes to our aims for excellence and equity in education.”

Derek Robertson, Chief Executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said “Keep Scotland Beautiful is delighted to have been involved in developing and managing Eco-Schools Scotland for more than 20 years. We are particularly grateful to the Scottish Government for their continuing funding of this activity.  For Scotland to be recognised by the Foundation for Environmental Education, the organisation which co-ordinates Eco-Schools across the world, in this way is a huge achievement.

“It is thanks to the work of our educators, and the commitment of our young people, that more than a million young people have benefited from environmental learning through Eco-Schools Scotland. We look forward to continuing our support to them as we move forward in partnership with FEE towards delivery of the UN Global Action Plan on Education for Sustainable Development.”

Amile Ahlafi, Board Member of the Foundation for Environmental Education, commented “Eco-Schools started over 20 years ago, and Scotland was on board from the beginning.

“Because the programme has the support of the Scottish Government and local authorities, it has created an outstanding percentage of schools. Scotland has enabled us to take the Eco-Schools programme into the 21st century by continuously devising some of the best educational material and themes, by sustaining great partnerships, and by generously sharing with the other 57 countries involved. We look forward to working with Keep Scotland Beautiful going forward.”

Further information on Eco-Schools Scotland can be found here.

Images from the presentation can be found here.