Waterberg Academy is proudly associated with The WESSA Eco‐Schools Programme

Mr. B. Pretorius receiving the WESSA Schools Programme “Bronze Decade Award” for the 2017 Eco Schools submission in Limpopo Province. Waterberg Academy is only 1 of 4 schools to receive this prestigious award

What Eco‐Schools Is About

Eco‐Schools South Africa supports the National Curriculum (CAPS) for Grades R‐9, and Grades 10‐12. Each year we strive to improve our efforts, thereby qualifying for an internationally recognised symbol of excellence, the Eco‐Schools Flag.
Eco‐Schools is a school based environmental management, certification, and sustainable development education programme implemented in over 52 countries worldwide. It is an International programme for the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), managed in South Africa by WESSA (Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa) with National support from Nampak. Various other organisations support Eco‐Schools at a local level.

Over 1100 schools in South Africa are currently part of the programme.
Key features of the programme are that it has a holistic, participatory approach and a combination of learning and action which makes it an ideal way for schools to embark on a meaningful path for improving the environment in both the school and local community, and to influence the lives of young people, school staff, families, local authorities and NGOs. This also benefits the school in terms of whole‐school development and improvement.

The Eco‐Schools programme involves seven steps. Steps involve establishing an Eco‐ Schools Committee to encourage and manage the programme; providing environmental curriculum to students which includes hands‐on opportunities for students to improve and empower the school and community; and developing an eco‐code which outlines the school’s values and objectives alongside student goals. The process involves a wide range of stakeholders, but it is the learners who play the most important role.

Schools are evaluated after a period of participation and successful schools are awarded with the Eco‐School’s Green Flag and International Green Flag. Green Flag schools report increased environmental awareness of learners, staff and communities, financial savings, and a stronger school‐community relationship. As a democratic and participatory programme, learners and staff experience active citizenship in school which encourages them to take ongoing, important roles in improving both their school and home environment. Additionally, the schools are given the opportunity to create links with other schools, nationally and internationally, creating a means for cultural exchange, language improvement and the sharing of environmental education ideas.

Eco‐Schools is about improving environmental management at the school, as well as environmental learning. This means that teachers, learners, community members and/or partner organisations get together and undertake a project to improve some aspect of environmental management at their school. This could range from saving electricity to starting a garden; the possibilities are endless! At the same time, teachers draw on these practical projects to strengthen environmental learning at the school.