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“We only have one mission: keeping the Earth healthy and safe. Unfortunately, we have failed,” said Khanh Dan, class 5R2, Riverside campus, Vietnam Australia International School (VAS) at the VAS English Speaking Contest 2019-2020. This is, in fact, a serious problem our Planet is facing.
|Sustainable development, the only solution for the future|
The massive amount of domestic waste and negative impacts from tourism, mining, and production activities to serve the living needs of 7.5 billion people worldwide are rapidly destroying the wildlife and natural resources. Besides, ecological imbalance and climate change also lead to droughts, erratic floods, and possible submergence of more than 30 coastal cities.
“There is one and only one solution to save the Earth and us humans and that is sustainable development, the development of a society at the time being that still ensures its continued development in the distant future,” VAS executive chairman Marcel Van Miert appealed in his letter to students on the school opening day.
|From an educational perspective, VAS focuses on creating opportunities for children in Vietnam to access knowledge, value all differences, and promote equality.|
The project is the expansion of the Green School year concept the school has launched since the 2019-2020 school year to promote the positive spirit and effective activities in the previous school year, while at the same time expanding students’ vision and understanding of their roles and responsibilities to adapt to the future development.
A companion in environmental activities
Earlier in the last school year, VAS’s Green School year environmental project left many buzzes in Ho Chi Minh City with diverse activities inspiring students to live green, reduce waste, and save energy.
In particular, the school, students, and parents joined hands to plant thousands of trees across Vietnam with the VASers for the Community programme and the VAS Green Day Run event.
The school also connected with many reputable environmental activists to organise dozens of sharing sessions for the VAS Talks series. Hundreds of artworks contributed by students through the Green Corner painting contest and their exceptional speeches on the environment in the English speaking contest had been promoted constantly and honoured by VAS throughout the school year.
|The running event organised to raise funds for afforestation attracted nearly 3,000 VAS students, parents, teachers, and staff|
As a result, the amount of domestic waste and energy consumption has been significantly reduced in the seven campuses and families of VAS students, teachers, and staff. These meaningful activities have brought VAS the honour to become the only educational organisation in Vietnam to be awarded the Corporate Social Responsibility title by Saigon Times newspaper in December 2019.
When humans are part of nature
According to Marcel van Miert, what the school and students have done in recent years is still insufficient. The achievements and the positive spirit of the Green School year will continue to be promoted and expanded with practical, realistic long-term actions in the Sustainable Development project. Among those, the change in the perception of humans’ roles and the relationship between humans and nature is a key factor.
“Above all, what I really want to emphasise is that we humans are, first and foremost, creatures and that we cannot survive if separated from the cycle of nature. There is a myth that we humans are King, standing high above all species and we have the right to possess, to kill, and force all species to serve our needs,” said Marcel. “Today, I do hope we are all fully aware that all species are interdependent, always promoting, constraining, depending upon each other to exist and develop, and together making life eternal on Earth! We are part of nature and we must carry out the mission to retain a balanced life for both nature and our descendants,” he noted.
|Building the qualities of future human resources based on the criteria of sustainable development|
Change attitude, change action! Sustainable Development is a global effort to satisfy both economic development goals and other values of social responsibility, environmental protection, and cultural identities.
From an educational perspective, VAS focuses on creating opportunities for children in Vietnam to access knowledge, value all differences, and promote equality. Moreover, the school also concentrates on building universal values for students such as human rights, democracy, diversity, and non-discrimination – the essential qualities of the future human resources based on the principles of sustainable development.
The act of cultivating students with fundamental vision, knowledge, and responsibilities for sustainable development is a way for VAS to forestall the shortage of resources and is undertaken by developing capable human resources for the future, as sustainable development is the only option that our planet and us as humans have.
VAS is a school system with a 16-year history teaching international bilingual programmes in Vietnam. Some 9,500 VAS students, from kindergarten to Grade 12, are studying at its seven campuses. VAS now offers three Cambridge pathways to meet the needs and competencies of students and their family's orientations.
Learn more about educational programmes and register for a free placement test at vas.edu.vn or the hotline at 0911 2677 55.