What is Eco-Schools?

THE PROGRAMME IN A NUTSHELL

Eco-Schools was created in Denmark in 1994 by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), following the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. Today, it is the largest international accreditation and education for sustainable development (ESD) programme in the world. It helps schools to make a commitment to operating in a more sustainable way, while encouraging young people to play a proactive role in society.

As an educational programme, Eco-Schools encourages practical actions but also puts ESD at the heart of the process by supporting numerous links to school curricula. Various examples are cited throughout this guide.

By bringing the whole school community together around a shared project, it encourages reflection and cooperation between various groups on the school staff, pupils and their parents. As a result, it encourages everyone involved in the life of the school to take part in the project at every level.

Supported by UNESCO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Eco-Schools is an Award Scheme linked to the Sustainable Development Goals 2015-2030 and is recognised all over the world. The programme offers participating schools the opportunity to take part in exchanges and share their experiences as part of the national and international Eco-Schools network. Today, schools all round the world are taking action on sustainable development through the Eco-Schools programme.

Tableflag Eco-Schools
Eco Schools global

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The Eco-Schools programme takes a comprehensive approach to ESD. It offers a flexible Seven Steps Methodology that allows schools to proceed at their own pace. This creates a framework for a project that brings the whole of the school community together and in particular, gives pupils the opportunity to play a major role in setting up the programme and making it a success.

Eco-Schools’ primary objective is to help schools to implement a gradual programme of (education for) sustainable development and in so doing, help pupils to develop the knowledge, skills and motivation they need to address and tackle the challenges of the world around them.

The programme makes use of school buildings and the surrounding areas as educational laboratories. Each school selects a theme for a one- or two-year project and implements initiatives designed to make practical improvements in how it operates. These initiatives are accompanied by educational activities associated with sustainable development, carried out in class or outside school. A new theme is added each year to drive a gradual process of continuous improvement.