Budget debate: MOE's 4Cs sustainability plan aims to cut school emissions by two-thirds by 2030

Commonwealth Secondary School students during a biology lesson in the school's nursery.
Commonwealth Secondary School students during a biology lesson in the school's nursery.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

SINGAPORE - An Eco-Stewardship Programme will be launched in all schools, from primary to pre-university, under the Ministry of Education (MOE).

Announcing this in Parliament on Thursday (March 4), Education Minister Lawrence Wong said that through the programme, the ministry aims to reduce carbon emissions from schools by at least at two-thirds by the year 2030, in line with the Government's overall Singapore Green Plan 2030.

The programme will be rolled out in four thrusts, which Mr Wong referred to as the "4Cs" - curriculum, campus, culture and community.

In terms of curriculum, sustainability would be refreshed and strengthened with a Singapore perspective.

For instance, topics in the new upper secondary geography syllabus will be organised around the theme of sustainability.

"These learning resources will help students to connect their learning to the actual lived experience in schools, and make the learning more empathetic and engaging," he said.

On campus, Mr Wong said the ministry will improve energy-efficiency through efforts like using LED lights as the main light sources in classrooms and more energy-efficient fans.

"We will progressively enhance the infrastructure of our schools with a range of green features," he said.

Solar panels are being progressively installed on the rooftops of about 130 schools through the SolarNova programme, which Mr Wong said would be extended to cover most schools in the coming decade.

During his visit to Commonwealth Secondary School, he saw the school's in-house habitats, including a rainforest, a stream and a wetland, for students to study and observe, allowing them to develop a better appreciation of nature and biodiversity.

Aside from books and buildings, Mr Wong said that sustainability in schools is also about "instilling the right habits in our students".

Turning to culture, he said that the ministry would inculcate in students habits like reducing energy and food waste.

"We will also help students champion sustainability mindset and practices through leadership opportunities so they can encourage their peers and friends towards more sustainable living," he added.

Mr Wong noted that schools are part of a larger community ecosystem and so, as part of the final thrust, the ministry will work closely with partners to help students take part in community sustainability projects.

He also said that the Education Ministry will work to strengthen students' awareness of future "green jobs". To this end, he said MOE will equip its teachers and school counsellors to build awareness of these future opportunities among students.

Mr Wong concluded by saying that the roll-out of sustainability features will begin with pilots in four schools - Elias Park Primary School, Mee Toh School, Commonwealth Secondary School and Tampines Secondary School.

"We have set ambitious plans for ourselves," said Mr Wong.

"Not just in hard targets in carbon reduction, but equally, if not more importantly, they are about nurturing our young with the values, skills and the know-how to become responsible stewards of the environment."