EkoSkola Gozo committees meet with the Minister for Gozo
Over 75 students coming from the EkoSkola Committees of 12 schools from the Gozo College met the Minister for Gozo Hon. Giovanna Debono. During the meeting these representatives gave the Minister a report of the initiatives they are taking within their school and surrounding community as part of their efforts to try to reach good sustainability levels as encouraged by the EkoSkola programme.
During this meeting, the first of its kind, the students shared positive experiences resulting from their participation in the EkoSkola programme. They also made a number of valid suggestions with the aim to continue enhancing the surrounding environment and improve on what they have already accomplished, also going beyond the school grounds, presenting proposals also for the locality they come from and for Gozo in general.
Hon. Giovanna Debono, Minister for Gozo, expressed her satisfaction for the school's active participation in EkoSkola. She continued to explain that such a meeting provided an occasion for students to participate directly in the promotion of sustainability in their schools and communities. The students' presentations was proof of how good environmental practices and other initiatives helped to increase one's awareness about the concept of sustainable developments promoted by the EkoSkola programme. "These aims are exactly in line with the work done by the Ministry for Gozo with regards to the eco-Gozo vision" Minister Debono continued to say. The Minister also announced a scheme where all schools in Gozo will be financed to actually make possible the many proposals which had just been made by the students during this same meeting.
EkoSkola is an international program run by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) and focuses on environmental management. In Malta this program is coordinated by the Nature Trust (Malta) which introduced the Eco-School program locally in 2002-2003 scholastic year in five schools in Malta and one in Gozo. Currently more than a hundred schools are participating in this programme, twelve of which are schools in Gozo. The EkoSkola programme aims to deliver more information and give young students an opportunity to begin adopting participatory roles in environmental decisions and be active in this respect, both within schools and the community. FEE promotes five environmental programmes including that of Eco-Schools on an international basis. Those schools that meet a high level in this field will be rewarded with a Green Flag, a prestigious title.
Xaghra, Nadur and Xewkija Primary schools in Gozo have achieved Green Flag standards while those of Qala and Zebbug were awarded the silver and bronze awards respectively. It is worth mentioning that the Xaghra primary school, which was one of the schools that participated in the pilot program in 2002, has achieved this honour for the second time.
Present at the meeting with the Minister for Gozo were also Mr. Vincent Attard, Executive President of Nature Trust Malta, Profs Paul Pace, National Coordinator of EkoSkola, Chev. Frank Gatt, Principal of the Gozo College, and Ms. Marvic Refalo, EkoSkola co-ordinator for schools in Gozo.