Learning for Sustainability at St Mary’s College

St Mary’s College Rose-Hill in Mauritius participated in the EARTHwise Thrivability Education program (formerly Education for Sustainability) from 2012-2016. Through this article, the Mentors who received training from EARTHwise during this period, share how they have implemented the Sustainability principles in their school. Sustainability project works have been given to junior science classes, mostly for form 1 and form 2. The basic aim of such projects is to promote ‘learning by doing’. It is such a pleasurable way to learn…


The projects require the students to:

  1. Work in groups of two or three pupils ( promote team building)
  2. Look for information on the theme given ( research work)
  3. Respect submission deadlines ( promote a sense of responsibility)
  4. Use scrap materials for their model ( Reuse and Reduce principle)
  5. Recognize sustainability issues like rain water collection, clean energies, composting, waste management
  6. Manage their resources like raw materials, time effectively to produce a cost effective model
  7. Understand the scientific concept behind the project work
  8. The project are usually given 1 month before the deadline and on the submission day, the students have to present their project before a jury, usually composed of science teachers.

Some of the project theme given during 2015 and 2016 were:

  • Rainwater collection
  • Effective irrigation systems using plastic bottles
  • A model of an ecological house
  • Water filtration
  • Air pollution
  • Balanced diet and healthy nutrition
  • A small working model of a hydro power station

The project work forms part of the curriculum and through this EFS principles are gradually infused in the science lessons. The marks scored by the students are banked and complies as a percentage of the marks for end of term examinations.

A few photos of the science exhibition day…


At St. Mary’s College, we believe that nature should be an extension of our classes. Nature is such a great teacher! We try our best to ensure that our students learn through discovery. Outings with nature discovery sessions are organized both within the academic terms and during holidays.

Can there be any sustainable development, if this does not start from the very core of each and every student? Our pedagogical outings are a wonderful platform, to invite each student go deeper into himself and lead out his intrinsic values.


Each student learns to develop his will power, through wholesome activities

  • They learn to develop team spirit through simple games
  • They learn to cook, through traditional way                            smc9

Education can be so much fun, and at the same time pave the way to new exciting experiences. Our students have thus come up with a movable garden. The garden is on wheels and incorporates an autonomous irrigation system, run by a solar panel. The panel is connected to a light sensor that automatically adjusts the inclination of the panel to capture maximum sunlight. The soil inside the PVC modified tubes is in connection with humidity sensors that automatically control the irrigation process. The irrigation water is collected rain water from the roof of the school building. Each pipe contains overflow regulators that ensure that no plant will ever hold too much water.

This ingenious garden was constructed by our form 4 science students. They have presented their project in the last Rajiv Gandhi Science competition.


Human Values at the centre of sustainability

The Human Values department uses yearly retreats as a way to revive the “Being” in each student, giving each one the opportunity to connect with his self and act in means and ways that are sustainable. We firmly believe that sustainability is an outcome of each of our everyday decision and action. Existence does give us many opportunities to build up enough maturity and wisdom to flow in tune with it, but at times, we just are not conscious of it. This is why, at St. Mary’s College, we put a lot of emphasis on trying to create the right working environment for individual development and interrelation.

Our Human Values department has structured in that sense, numerous pedagogical retreats at each form level, to support and accompany each student in his personal evolution. We are aware that the world is full of knowledgeable people. Yet, there are so many problems all around us! And the worst part is that, we are responsible for many of those problems at large. We realize that our world does not only need intelligent people, but above all, intelligent people who can take wise decisions! Wisdom is not learnt in books! Wisdom is an outflow of profound understanding through compassionate sharing.

At St. Mary’s College, we want to invest our time, experience and knowledge into facilitating the development of the wise men of tomorrow. To pave the way towards this goal, we choose themes that can titillate deep reflection and foster compassionate sharing, amongst our students across the forms.

The themes per form for 2016 are detailed as follows:

  • F1: Our local festivals, a multi-cultural celebration.
  • F2: Water! Our source of life.
  • F3: Saying NO to drugs.
  • F4: Living healthily, away from Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  • F5: Forgiveness! Am I ready for it?
  • L6: I am the link between my dream and my reality.
  • U6: Using Relational Communication to express our desires.

Other little projects

Form 2 red (activity period): project on how to create an innovative (eco-friendly) product at your own level. The product must be made from easily accessible materials or recycled materials. Students have to create a working prototype by the end of the year.

Form 5 eco (activity period): students must create and update a Facebook page on eco-friendly practice at school. The idea is to find simple measures that can be implemented to reduce waste and the carbon footprint of the school. The Facebook page intends to share the good practice with other students of the school and also of different schools on the long run.

Lower 6 (business class): The topic of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is seen in depth. The various aspects of CSR such as ethical behaviour, the fact that business has a social responsibility towards the community and its impact on the environment are seen in details.

Remedial classes for needy students and slow learners are being conducted whereby the students are encouraged to work in teams. High achievers are helping those having difficulties. The idea behind this is to make slow learners that where there is a will there is a way.

Written by the EfS Mentors of St Mary’s College – Samantha Gundowry, Shakeel Moossajee, Ludwig Decotter, and Anamantoo Boni Bangari.

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