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'Eco-school' to open in Samoa by 2021

Preliminary discussions have begun to establish Samoa’s first “eco-school”, which will offer courses that raise environmental awareness and conservation.

The school project leader, Taloto Unasa, told Samoa Observer that eco-schools are  "environmental friendly schools" that integrate environment-related programmes such as how to plant trees and learning different types of plants and their use.

“Students would learn how to plant, what certain plants mean and how they are utilised. That’s basically what an eco-school is. We would incorporate your basic English, science, and mathematics because those are the essentials," he said in an interview.

“When kids go to a school like that, they not only learn mathematics, English or science but they learn how to better respect their environment and how they understand the natural resources. Those are the things that are really behind the eco-schools. There is one in Bali that is really nice.”

Giving more background on the specialised education facility, Mr Unasa said the one in Bali, Indonesia has buildings that are made from organic material such as wood and it does not have concrete and glass.

“We would build natural buildings like how you would build an old Fale Samoa so that you would have a natural infrastructure," he added.

Mr. Unasa added that the school will target young students, who also want to learn about the ecosystem, how to preserve the natural environment, and how best to use the country’s natural resources.

"What we are seeing with the COVID-19 pandemic is that there is more awareness of going back to plantations, natural environments, sustainable living because really it is about long term, in terms of looking ahead, how do we use our natural resources that we’ve always used for thousands of years," he said.

"I think we need to go back to how we use our natural resources because we have abandoned a lot of it and we've relied on packaging food and all the other fast food outlets. We need to go back and also strengthen our ecosystem and strengthen some of the agricultural practices that we all have access to.”

Educating the next generation of Samoans is crucial, he emphasised and this could be done through the school’s curriculum.

 We all have lands but we need to use more of it. I think we need to start educating the next generation of how we better utilise our natural resources but to also protect our environment for future generations. So this eco-school will definitely help raise awareness and education in preserving our natural resources."

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