Schools are meant to impart education – that is a given. When they go out of their way to also instil in their students a sense of community and social responsibility, we must ensure that we write about it.
Kolkata’s Union Chapel School under Angela Ghose as its principal has come up with several initiatives that go beyond academics and equip students with much-needed experiences. Some of these are as follows:
Started almost three years ago, Union Chapel ensured that their school premises complied with rainwater-harvesting. They have since been reaping the benefits of this practice.
The water is used for washing cars, cleaning toilet floors and drains and gardening.
With many of the students at the school coming from nearby settlements, they were asked to take the message of conserving water to their homes. Mrs Ghose proudly tells us about how this one initiative has had an impact not just on the school but many families living nearby.
Judicious use of electricity
With many houses and apartments now installing inverters and backup power generators, the real pinch of having to stay without electricity is not known by many.
To make students understand the importance and the absolute necessity of conserving power, the power to the entire school is shut down each day for about 15 minutes.
This is coupled with a lot of activity-based learning to sensitise students on the importance of saving fuel, conserving energy, and the judicious use of natural resources. Organising street plays and taking the students to the local petrol pump to conduct pollution checks is also part of what the school has been doing.
Keeping plastics away
While various state governments have come out and banned the use of plastics bags, the lack of viable options has left people continuing its use.
Mrs Ghose says that paper bags are being made by the students to take home and use while they go out shopping.
The school is also actively encouraging parents and students to either walk or cycle to school. Giving out saplings and encouraging the students to plant trees within the school premises is also being actively promoted.
Creating green spaces
The school authorities, along with the students, are in the process of converting various plastic beverage bottles into a beautiful vertical landscape garden. The Nature Club at the school is doing this. A birdbath is also being constructed with waste material and is sure to attract some birds. Small bird feeders are already present in various locations at the school.
Students at the school are spreading awareness about maintaining good personal hygiene and ensuring that they keep their surroundings clean by making posters and designing various campaigns.
These campaigns are not just for the students but also the residents who live in shanty accommodations near the school.
Tackling the spread of malaria and dengue were two prominent issues that the students and the teachers took up.
Angela Ghose signs off, “I believe that if every student of my school is sensitised to the need to re-green the planet, every little gesture or effort will bring about a change for the better.”
If you know of any such innovative ideas being implemented at your school or another school, do write to us at – firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to reach out and feature them.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)