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Schools for an Intelligent Energy Use

European project called ‘Schools for Intelligent Energy Use' (SIEU) is just finishing in Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain, UK, and Hungary. More than 100 schools from all these countries were involved in the project. The ‘storyline approach' methodology, upon the successful Dutch "Schools for Sustainability" (SfS) programme and also relevant programmes in partner countries, was applied in all schools offering to the students the opportunity to work on real assignments, for real clients, in the field of sustainable energy.

energy_school_1Prietenii Pamantului (Earth Friends) is one of the organizations involved in implementing SIEU project. It is among the oldest Romanian NGOs, officially registered in 1991. Its main goal is to promote sustainability as a lifestyle. The organization's members and staff work mainly on education through practice, in the way of Education for Sustainable Development. Since the beginning, Earth Friends work for public involvement in decision making process, especially in the field of environment. Earth Friends headquarter is located in Galati (SE of Romania, on Danube river).

Colegiul National Alexandru Ioan Cuza (CNAIC) is one of the Romanian secondary schools participating in the project with one class of students which are setting-up ‘energy consulting company' ready to work on assignments from real clients. In this case, the client is a secondary school. The assignment consists of producing a collection of simple experiments making easily understandable the energy and climate issues for secondary school students. During the last 2 months, the ‘consultancy' team organized few sessions with children from 5th, 6th and 7th grades. It was the best way to test the experiment sheets they produced.

energy_sc_2As project coordinator, I was invited to take part in one of the experiment sessions, and I was happy to see how they offer a clear perspective on sustainable energy to very young students, and how skilled are the secondary school's students in approaching such difficult theme with kids.
Another thing I very much appreciated is that the beneficiary pupils, coached by the Schools for an Intelligent Energy Use student team, demonstrate their capacity to understand the message transmitted during coaching period and that they produced by themselves models of some houses with low energy consumption, or even zero consumption.
They added to these houses equipment for the collection of renewable energies. This shows that families that put all their good will to reduce their energy consumption as much as possible, through avoiding wastage and by improving their heat insulation, then can start buying the equipment needed for total energy independence.energy_school_3Supervised by their teachers, the young members of SIEU managed not only to prepare an attractive and efficient educational program, but also to ‘contaminate' other colleagues from other classes which would like to cooperate with Earth Friends association - the organisation which made possible the participation of the school in SIEU.

Another reason to be happy was to hear during the presentation done by the students at the end of their project:
"It is nice to work with people from Prieteniii Pamamantului due to their positive attitude and wide knowledge. They always bring new ideas and leave participants space to find by themselves the answers to many questions. In that way, it is a pleasure to learn and discover where all those things we learnt during the program can be useful. That is why we like including such kind of projects in the educational process".

ieelogowithflagstrap72As a conclusion, I want to say that SIEU project offered to the involved students a lot of advantages: the contact with the real life through their relationship with the client, doing research followed by practical application, and asking for more detailed information in order to accomplish their task, working in a team, understanding the usefulness of learning theory in school as a condition of successful work on real assignments. That really means education for sustainable development!

Ion Constantin Zamfir,
Project Coordinator,
Prietenii Pamantului (Earth Friends)