Photo: Students from St. Aloysius Secondary School, one of the local schools embarking on the Blue Schools certification journey as part of the Blue Schools Med project.
At a landmark ceremony held at the University of Malta’s Valletta Campus last month, under the patronage of Minister for Education, Sport, Youth, Science and Innovation Hon. Clifton Grima, a total of three local secondary schools and one local primary school embarked formally on the journey to join the EU’s Blue School Network.
This network, which in turn forms part of the EU4Ocean Coalition, seeks to foster a greater element of ocean literacy within schools by encouraging them to pursue marine educational activities, so-called ‘Blue Challenges.’ These Blue Challenges are co-created between educators, students and project partners and could address any thematic related to the sea, including food from the ocean, climate and the ocean, landscape and ocean, a healthy ocean, migration and the ocean, maritime culture and heritage as well as communication and the ocean. Once designed, Blue Challenges need to be implemented within the school in question, with its impact being evaluated on a regular basis, leading eventually to the formal Blue Schools recognition. To date, there are over 170 certified Blue Schools from an array of different EU countries and these can be viewed online.
The Erasmus+-funded Blue Schools Med project, featuring partners from France (coordinator), Italy, Greece and Malta, kickstarted in autumn 2020 and aims to specifically introduce the Blue Schools concept to the Mediterranean. It will also provide a platform through which different schools can share their own Blue Challenges concepts. Malta is represented in the project by the University of Malta, namely by Prof. Alan Deidun (PI) from the Department of Geosciences at the Faculty of Science within the University of Malta and by Prof. Mark Mifsud and Prof. Paul Pace, from the Centre for Environmental Education and Research (CEER). This event follows in the tracks of the opening Blue Schools Med project training event held in November 2021 for local educators.
The first batch of local schools to embark on the Blue Schools journey include St. Thomas More College Tarxien Middle School, St. Aloysius College Secondary School, Maria Regina College, Mosta Secondary School and Maria Regina College Mellieha Primary School. The Blue Challenges they have selected address topics ranging from sustainable fishing to sustainable fish consumption and to different pedagogies in raising marine awareness through the use of digital and social media.
Further information about the BlueSchoolsMed project can be gleaned through the project website.