The Eco-Schools approach is environmental education and management program for promotion of Education for Sustainable Development principles. It involves schools undertaking seven steps which include; Establishing an Eco-Schools Committee to guide and manage program implementation; Carrying out an environmental review/audit on issues affecting environmental sustainability and quality of education; Establishment of Eco-codes which outlines the school's values and objectives alongside learners’ goals to guide implementation of appropriate actions within the school; Development of action plans geared towards improvement of environment and quality of education; Curriculum localization to offer environmental curriculum to learners with hands-on opportunities for improvement and empowerment at the school and community levels; Monitoring and Evaluation ; Information & involving the wider community.
As a democratic and participatory programme, pupils and staff experience active citizenship in school which encourages them to take ongoing, important roles in improving both their school and home environment.
The implementation of the 7-steps framework involves a wide range of stakeholders, but pupils play a central role
After 2 years of participation, an evaluation of the success of the schools ' initiatives ,the methodology undertaken, and the whole Eco-Schools programme for each school is assessed.
Successful schools are awarded the Green Flag which is an internationally acknowledged label for environmental excellence and right to quality education fulfillment
The Eco-Schools concept stimulates and promotes democratic and participatory approaches that provide learners with an opportunity to experience active citizenship at school and in the community.
Some of the important perspectives in the teaching strategies and methods that the programme will undertake include: Sustainable use of natural resources, Environmental education, learners’ involvement and participation in decision making processes in issues pertaining to their right to quality education
INVESTIGATIONS, VISIONS, ACTION AND CHANGE-IVAC APPROACH
The IVAC approach is a key participatory and practical teaching and learning approach used by Uganda Eco–schools program to implement ESD and access to quality education.
It is a right based Approach used by Eco-schools to provide learners with opportunities to actively take part in their own learning and make informed choices towards environmental sustainability and quality learning hence gaining desirable action competencies and multidisciplinary skills.
It is participatory and child centered methodology that promotes action-based learning in Eco-schools. The IVAC approach emphasizes the learner’s meaningful participation and empowerment in the teaching and learning process.
The learners are challenged to;
Investigate, carry out self-inquiry and develop imagination
Envision the kind of world they wish to have or live in
Take actions that contribute to sustainable development through well thought actions
Create desirable change.
In essence, the IVAC approach promotes the fundamental rights of the child to quality education and sustainable development evidenced by active learner participation and empowerment in the teaching and learning process.
Key Characteristics of IVAC Approach
It emphasizes practical and experiential teaching and learning in nature on the part of the learners.
It encourages critical thinking and expression of ideas and perception by the learners on real life situations guided by the teacher.
Leads to the development of life skills and values of individuals that are necessary for societal survival and development.
Involves learners in decision making process about the topic, content, objective, processes and outcomes of teaching.
It is very challenging but an exciting situation.
Teaching and learning will be evident through outdoor teaching and children’s action competences enhanced through active participation in the entire teaching- learning process.