Brunei is not your average Southeast Asian nation. It is home to some of the oldest tropical rainforests in the world, lush mangroves, majestic mountains and exotic creatures — the very kind to inspire the best type of learning.
That’s what Jerudong International School (JIS) students get at their school which recently won the Green Flag award and was shortlisted for the Sustainability Award by the ISC Research. Both are a testament to the school’s prowess in nurturing students to become tomorrow’s green changemakers. JIS students aren’t just getting an education, they are learning how to make the world a better place.
To win the prestigious Green Flag award, JIS aimed to make its campus, community and curriculum as sustainable as possible – and its incredible students and staff made this happen. On this journey, students from pre-kindy to sixth form followed the Seven Steps set out by Global Eco-Schools.
This means these students were attaining an education for sustainable development in action. Every JIS student was earning the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values necessary to live sustainably and to be able to influence others. Together with teachers, parents and management, they realised real-life positive actions and provided climate change solutions.
JIS encouraged all of its 16 Houses to have Eco-Reps and Eco-Committees who in turn encouraged the students in their respective Houses to get involved in various activities from in-school recycling, to running House Green Businesses and volunteering for events such as beach cleans and tree planting.
Every Monday, a group of students meet after school, led by two Sustainability Prefects, which act as a steering committee to coordinate Education for Sustainable Development EfSD activities across the JIS community. Called the “Canopy Initiative,” they aim to create a system that made it easier for the Eco-Reps to operate effectively and also to encourage them to collaborate to promote behaviour in tune with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across the whole school.
This feat has earned praise from multiple parties. In 2022, the school was recognised as a national winner in the prestigious International Energy Globe Awards 2021 for its Outdoor Discovery Centre. The 10,000 square-metre project space lets students understand the importance of sustainable development via reforestation and climate change awareness. Since its founding five years ago, an estimated 11,000 kg of carbon dioxide have been absorbed and over 40 trees have been planted.
“This award is recognised globally as the most important award for sustainability worldwide,” says Principal Nicholas Sheehan. “It recognises and validates the outstanding work of the school for the environment, here in Brunei.”
For JIS students, the project was fulfilling. “To work with peers, students, and staff on a collaborative project spanning half a decade has taught me many valuable lessons,” says graduate Jaden Low. “The skills that students learn on such a project, especially in positions of leadership, will last a lifetime, and I can say that from experience.”
Infectious enthusiasm in an outstanding school
JIS is a co-educational school offering a British International curriculum to over 1,660 students aged two to 18 years old. Teachers are well qualified and experienced, recruited mostly from the UK. They ensure that every student’s emotional, behavioural and intellectual development is just as important as their academic success.
Little wonder why JIS is rated “outstanding” in all nine inspection criteria by the UK Ofsted team. “JIS is outstanding in all aspects. The quality of teaching is outstanding,” stated the report. “Students make good progress as they move through the school. IGCSE and A Level results exceed UK national expectations, and IB results exceed world expectations. Personal development is of a high order.”
Expansive facilities and a comprehensive enrichment programme make this possible. In state-of-the-art classrooms and the outdoors, JIS students can flourish, achieve excellence and improve their well-being — whether it’s through a lesson in the school’s Outdoor Discovery Centre, after-school co-curricular activities in the Forest School programme, or a field trip to the nearby rainforests of Temburong.
Location is another key factor. Few other schools can boast of having a rainforest literally on their doorstep. The 120-acre campus is set against an unspoilt coastline, beautiful beaches, and the cleanest air on the continent.
What’s inside the campus is just as impressive. The school not only has an award-winning Outdoor Discovery Centre, it also runs an after-school CCA in the popular Forest School programme. “Accommodation and resourcing are exceptional – world-class … The enormous landscaped site provides ample space for recreation and play,” says a BSO Inspection Report.