6 educational institutions from Bucharest, Brașov and Constanța are in the process of becoming model schools, examples of good practices in the separate collection of recyclable waste, within the latest project launched by ASAP Romania, called the ASAP+ School. From December until the end of the current month, educational and awareness actions regarding the collection of recyclable waste and environmental protection take place in the selected high schools.
Workshop “Mircea the Elder” National College – Constanța Photo: ASAP Romania
High School “Jean Monnet”, National College “Iulia Hasdeu”, the German College “Goethe” and the National College “Grigore Moisil” from Bucharest, National College “Àprily Lajos” from Brașov and the National College “Mircea cel Bătrân” from Constanța are the 6 selected high schools.
The ASAP+ School project thus helps educational institutions to prepare to obtain the status of “Green School” according to the methodology provided in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), where the following are mandatory: eco education, in schools (re)configured as spaces environmentally friendly, and the involvement of students in solving environmental problems.
The project comes to solidify ASAP’s mission, to actively contribute to the promotion of environmental education among the target audience – teenagers – and to create the largest unitary infrastructure for the separate collection of waste for recycling in all schools in Romania. With this strategic direction set, the ASAP program is unique in Romania.
As this is the first time ASAP is organizing this project, feedback from those involved matters. What impact does the project have? How is he received by teachers and students? What are the most interesting actions part of the project? What does a sustainable school mean? We spoke with the representatives of each educational institution to find out the answers to these questions and more.
Loredana Elena Tănase is a biology teacher at the “Mircea Cel Bătrân” National College in Constanța, where 1183 middle and high school students study. With 26 years of experience in education, Loredana Elena Tănase instills in students curiosity about the environment and strives to be an example, to help them with solutions, so that sustainability becomes a recurring practice for all.
What does the ASAP+ School project represent for CNMB? What do you feel is its impact on students and teachers?
The ASAP + School project naturally aligns with the previous activities carried out with our students regarding the selective recycling of materials resulting from the daily activity in the school. Students are already used to this type of separate collection, all classrooms and laboratories are equipped with special containers for plastics and paper, metal and household waste. We also have developed partnerships with local NGOs through which students volunteered in greening campaigns and selective collection of materials collected from various areas bordering the city or in the city. Ecological and environmental education is part of the priorities of CNMB teaching staff.
What feedback do you have from teachers and students regarding the workshops and activities carried out within the ASAP+ School project?
The feedback is positive, in the sense that each workshop brings new information, which enriches the overall perspective on the attitude towards the environment.
What do you see as new brought to the CNMB by this project? What did the students learn in addition, what information did the teachers gain about the environment, separate collection, sustainability in general?
As I said before, the ASAP + School project was very naturally articulated to the teachers’ and students’ concerns for the ecologically themed activities carried out previously. The novelty is the way the ASAP team has moderated the activities carried out with the students and teachers so far – engaging and interactive, in a manner approved by the young people.
What was the most loved / impactful activity of the project and how do you feel it stood out?
The students enthusiastically participated in all the activities carried out by the ASAP team, being attracted by the interactive nature of the workshops and the training and information sessions. It is hard to say which of these activities they liked the most, their interest being high in all of them.
How will you continue the steps started within the ASAP+ School project? What are your future plans?
I believe that the ASAP+ School project should be implemented in as many schools as possible in the country, both in urban and rural areas. Environmental education and the formation of attitudes favorable to environmental sustainability are important premises in the education and training of future generations of adults. Also, the concept of sustainable development must be found in the school programs of all subjects, so that transdisciplinarity and interdisciplinarity are realized naturally and coherently. The applied-practical nature of the knowledge and information acquired within the project activities must lead to their implementation in everyday life.
What are the pluses that you see now, at the end of the ASAP+ School project, what conclusions do you have about the importance of such a project? What good did he bring to your high school?
The project adds value to the school’s efforts related to environmental education, by enriching and diversifying the methods of student involvement and responsibility regarding the attitude towards the environment.
What other green activities do you have planned at CNMB? Percentage wise, how many of the projects carried out are in the area of environment and sustainability in your high school? Do you intend to increase this percentage as a result of the ASAP+ School project?
At the moment we are in the design phase of the specific activities for the “Green Week” National Program, in which we propose as many outdoor activities as possible, including greening actions, planting dendrological material and arranging green spaces in collaboration with other partner schools, activities to capitalize on selectively recycled materials in eco-design schools and others.
What is a model, sustainable school from your perspective?
From the perspective of the specific objectives of the ASAP+ project and of sustainable development, the model school could be the one that partially or even fully amortizes its expenses related to the consumption of electricity, by owning and using photovoltaic panels that allow it the status of a prosumer.
In the case of schools that have school canteens – the possibility of growing vegetables and greens needed for students’ meals on the school grounds.
All school spaces could be “green” (so well oxygenated) by setting up plant walls made of plants in hydroponic cultures, with low consumption and controlled water.
And last but not least – the selective collection of waste from the daily activity of the school to allow their valorization so that the resulting income becomes a source of self-financing.
These are just a few ideas. Depending on the specifics of the schools and their size, there could be other solutions.
The ASAP+ School project is, at the moment, a pilot project, an example of good practice in local communities. Depending on the reactions of the communities involved and the results obtained through the actions carried out, ASAP will continue and recalibrate similar initiatives for the next school year.
For more information about the ASAP+ School, see dedicated project page.
Article supported by ASAP Romania