Expo 2020 Dubai has contributed to Earth Day by announcing that more than 100 schools across the UAE had taken part in its "Sustainability Champions" programme with two of them selected to receive photovoltaic panels and sustainability support.
Launched in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2018, the programme celebrates the "Year of Zayed" by supporting the UAE founder’s vision for a sustainable future.
An evaluation panel comprising experts from the two ministries and Expo 2020 narrowed the selection down to Umm Al Arab School in Abu Dhabi and American School of Dubai, recognising their commitment and contribution to sustainability initiatives.
As part of the programme, the schools will receive photovoltaic panels worth a combined AED1 million, plus support for their sustainability initiatives from Expo 2020. This will not only help the schools to cut operating costs but also allow them to raise further awareness of sustainability and contribute to the lasting renewable energy legacy of Expo 2020.
Najeeb Mohammed Al-Ali, Executive Director of Dubai Expo 2020 Bureau, said, "It is great to see that so many schools participated in the programme, which reflects high levels of interest and enthusiasm in the school community for sustainability, as well as Expo 2020 as a national project.
"Sustainability is not only a core pillar of the Year of Zayed but also one of Expo 2020’s three key sub-themes, alongside Opportunity and Mobility. We look forward to working closely with the school community to leave a lasting legacy for sustainability in the UAE, both physically and socially."
Asma Al Harthi, Principal, Umm Al Arab School, said, "We are proud to be recognised for upholding the values of sustainability, especially in the Year of Zayed. Our faculty and all 2,100 students have worked hard to integrate sustainability values into our classrooms, curriculum and community engagement activities. Our student innovators, for example, created the UAE’s first recycling centre for schools."
Dr. Paul Richards, Superintendent at the American School of Dubai, said, "We have always encouraged sustainable habits and innovation by spreading awareness and taking informed action to improve the present and future of our community. As well as improving efficiency and reducing costs, the photovoltaic panels will provide a real-life example of sustainable practice to inspire our students."
The schools’ photovoltaic panel installations will commence along with the new academic year in September 2018.
Expo 2020 aims to involve and engage the schools in the UAE in its exciting journey to 2020. Through various initiatives like school roadshows and Expo field trips, the Youth Connect team has already reached more than 48,000 students from 640 schools across all seven emirates and hopes to connect with many more this year.