Friday, May 24, 2024

Two Inspirational Philippine Schools Named in Top 10 Shortlists for $250,000 World’s Best School Prizes 2023

Two Inspirational Philippine Schools Named in Top 10 Shortlists for $250,000 World’s Best School Prizes 2023

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  • Kongkong Elementary School named in Top 10 shortlist for World’s Best School Prize for Community Collaboration
  • Muntinlupa National High School named in Top 10 shortlist for World’s Best School Prize for Environmental Action
Students of Kongkong Elementary School

Two inspirational Philippine schools have been named in the Top 10 shortlists for the $250,000 World’s Best School Prizes. The five World’s Best School Prizes are the world’s most prestigious education prizes.

Kongkong Elementary School, a government school in Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines, which is tapping into Indigenous knowledge to champion local farming and tackle child undernourishment, has been named in the Top 10 shortlist for the World’s Best School Prize for Community Collaboration.

Muntinlupa National High School, a government school in Muntinlupa City, Philippines, which is propelling the school and its community towards a greener and healthier future, has been named in the Top 10 shortlist for the World’s Best School Prize for Environmental Action.

The five World’s Best School Prizes – for Community Collaboration, Environmental Action, Innovation, Overcoming Adversity, and Supporting Healthy Lives – celebrate schools everywhere for the pivotal role they play in developing the next generation of learners and for their enormous contribution to society’s progress, especially in the wake of COVID. The Prizes were established to share the best practices of schools that are transforming the lives of their students and making a real difference to their communities.

Vikas Pota, Founder of T4 Education and the World’s Best School Prizes, said:

“The schools shortlisted for the World’s Best School Prizes, no matter where they can be found or what they teach, all have one thing in common. They all have a strong school culture. Their leaders know how to attract and motivate exceptional educators, inspire change, and build excellent teaching and learning environments.

“I must congratulate Kongkong Elementary School and Muntinlupa National High School on being named in the Top 10 shortlists for the World’s Best School Prizes 2023. Schools across the globe will learn from the story of these trailblazing Philippine institutions and the culture they have cultivated.”

Kongkong Elementary School campus

About the schools:

Kongkong Elementary School, a government school in the mountainous town of Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines, is tapping into Indigenous knowledge to champion local farming and tackle child undernourishment. Their Project APPLICATION has helped more than 97% of the school’s once undernourished students reach healthy nourishment.

The staff took a dumpsite at the back of the school in 2018 and used it as the grounds for Project APPLICATION (Applying Pro Environment Practices and Local Ideas, a Collective Advocacy Towards an Intimate care for Our Nature). With roughly 30% of the student population being Indigenous, the project aimed to transform the site into an Indigenous Peoples Village and Demo Farm that provides learning opportunities to share cultures, traditions, and safe local farming practices. To that end, the school won the support of the Municipal Local Government Unit of Kasibu and funding from the Parent-Teachers Association. With that, six houses were put up to represent both the majority (Ilocano) demographic and Indigenous Peoples groups (Kalanguya, Ibaloi, Bugkalot, Tuwali, and Ayangan). The school brought in Indigenous Peoples elders to share their local, organic farming practices, which included how to make organic insecticide, organic fertilizer, and more for the Demo Farm.

Jomar E Calibuso – Kongkong Elementary School Principal

During the pandemic, the learners, teachers, and parents applied the knowledge and skills they had gained from the project and established their own organic gardens at home. As a result, 100% of teachers and 94% of households were able to sustain themselves independently.

The school also started providing environment-related information education campaigns, symposia, and training workshops for proper waste segregation and recycling activities to learners in partnership with the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office of Kasibu and other partners.

Muntinlupa National High School campus

Muntinlupa National High School, a government school in Muntinlupa City, Philippines, has become a powerful force in environmental action, propelling the school and its community towards a greener and healthier future. The oldest and biggest school in the city of Muntinlupa, it sits in the National Bureau of Prison Reservation and caters to students whose relatives are imprisoned or who are relatives of the employees of the prison. Through its simple, affordable, and yet innovative Revitalised Algae Microfarm Project (RevAMP), the school harnesses the potential of microalgae and embraces an integrative approach to education, transforming the school landscape and spearheading tangible solutions to combat pollution and revolutionize climate action.

Situated in one of the most polluted parts of the country, Metro Manila, Muntinlupa National High School also lacked adequate ventilation systems, where the poor quality of air seeped into the classrooms passing through windows and other open spaces, hindering the conduciveness of the students’ learning environment. In response, the school launched ReVamp, adopting algaculture techniques and photobioreactors to cultivate the Chlorella Vulgaris algae, renowned for its exceptional ability to absorb greenhouse gasses and pollutants.

While the solution quickly and significantly improved air quality by reducing the levels of carbon dioxide, formaldehyde, and total volatile organic compounds, the school also integrated RevAMP into the curriculum, establishing a learning laboratory to provide students with a means to explore and invent valuable outcomes for the algae that serve the community’s needs. Thus, the students have discovered that algae, known as a superfood, can be used for various economic advantages, such as food production, medicine, and supplements.

Muntinlupa National High School has already extended its solution to other schools in the area with the same success, but the impact of RevAMP could extend even beyond borders. The Chlorella vulgaris algae’s absorption capacity reaches an impressive 17,000 to 18,000 tons of carbon dioxide per acre per year. Microalgae also serve as effective purifying agents for potential clean water source solutions in rural and remote areas. It is also an affordable energy alternative, such as converting it into biodiesel, reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and promoting sustainable practices.

Dr Antonio B Rocha – Muntinlupa National High School Principal

Next steps

The Top 3 finalists for each of the five World’s Best School Prizes will be announced in September 2023 followed by the winners in October. The winner of each Prize will be chosen based on rigorous criteria by a Judging Academy comprising distinguished leaders across the globe including academics, educators, NGOs, social entrepreneurs, government, civil society, and the private sector.

A prize of US$250,000 will be equally shared among the winners of the five Prizes, with each receiving an award of US$50,000.

All 50 shortlisted schools will be invited to share their best practices through events on the T4 Communities app or School Transformation Toolkits that showcase their “secret sauce” to innovative approaches and step-by-step instructions on how others can replicate their methods to help improve education everywhere.

The School Transformation Toolkits from last year’s winning and shortlisted schools are now available online.

Students of Muntinlupa National High School

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