This international school in Brunei is on a mission to be sustainable

Jerudong International School
Source: Jerudong International School

Jerudong International School (JIS) in Brunei is transforming its whole school into a sustainable learning community in a bid to achieve the Green Flag status from Eco-Schools.

To achieve this, JIS must demonstrate excellence in environmental action and learning. The school needs to show that it is empowering pupils to make positive change within their school and wider community.

JIS is following the Eco-Schools Seven Steps methodology and 12 themes, such as Energy and Climate Change, with students playing a primary role in the process.

“We don’t just want our community to make a gesture towards sustainability, we want the community to embrace this as a lifestyle change so that as our families leave, they become ambassadors for the environment wherever they find themselves”, says JIS Principal Nicholas Sheehan.

It’s quite the challenge to fulfil the Green Flag criteria, but JIS is more than up for it.

Set on a 120-acre single campus that is close to stunning beaches and adjacent to a national rainforest reserve, the School is an ideal place to encourage and foster the eco spirit demonstrated by Greta Thunberg, within the JIS students and wider JIS community.

Jerudong International School

Source: Jerudong International School

What transformations are JIS making?

Jerudong International School has set about relating its key school values to the UN Sustainable Development Goals through Green Flag themes.

It has created an award-winning Outdoor Discovery Centre (ODC) – a 10,000marea (2.5 acres) in the school campus which acts as an outdoor classroom for a wide range of subjects and active co-curricular programme.

Junior School students from Nursery to Year 6 (more than 500 students) enjoy regular explorations into their bespoke Forest School area both as part of the curriculum and, for older Junior School students, as an after school eco-programme.

In the Senior School, the 1200+ students, aged 11-18 years, are allocated to one of 16 Houses (including 4 Boarding Houses).

These Houses have their own committees governing and implementing a wide range of activities, and students have the chance to become an Eco Captain to drive sustainable change on campus.

The Senior School Council and Eco Committee are driving forward a range of initiatives to encourage and support eco-friendly practices across the school. This includes recycling, energy conservation and involvement in wider Bruneian activities such as “Beach Cleans” and tree planting.

JIS students also created “The Canopy Initiative” – a collaborative project between the 16 Houses. This is a level-based award modelled on the rainforest created to inspire the students to all get involved and persevere with their various eco activities. Houses are designated as being at ‘“Understorey,” “Canopy” or “Emergent” levels.

A school with sustainability in mind

The School’s Green Business Challenge starts in August and culminates in Earth Week in April.

Last academic year, Hawk House and Osprey House won the “Most sustainable Green Business” award at school for their stingless honey initiative.

They set up three bee hives using stingless bees, from which they harvest and sell honey in the school. Argus House and Whistler Houses have also been making coconut bowls from leftover coconut shells.

The ODC co-curricular programme encourages students to start their own initiatives. Thus, they are able to apply their theory lessons in real life and at the same time, better their well-being by having a direct connection with nature.

Jerudong International School

Source: Jerudong International School

Outdoor projects include composting, planting fruit trees such as banana trees, growing herbs and vegetables, building a treehouse and using hugelkultur (creating raised beds using decaying wood and other biodegradable materials).

Whether directly or indirectly, the students can link all these activities back to the JIS Junior School, IGCSE, A Level or IB Diploma curriculum and can enjoy being a part of a sustainable learning community.

“As a geographer and as a father of three children in JIS myself, I am tremendously proud of the students and all they have done. I look forward to seeing the students making a real difference in the community and world around them through the many green initiatives,” JIS Principal Nicholas Sheehan concludes.

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