Strengthening Our Contributions Towards the Green Economy and Empowering the Next Generation of Sustainability Leaders

Published Date: 08 March 2022 02:16 PM

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The Ministry of Education (MOE) is actively nurturing our students to learn, practice and contribute to a sustainable Singapore. Today, environmental sustainability is integrated into our educational institutions – in curriculum, campus infrastructure, institution culture and practices, and ongoing partnerships with the community.

As part of our continued efforts under the Singapore Green Plan 2030 (SGP30), we will nurture the next generation of environmental stewards in our schools and Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) through the following ways:

  1. Enhance curriculum and skills training to prepare graduates for the green economy;
  2. Explore research, innovation, and community projects to advance our sustainability goals; and
  3. Advance the Eco Stewardship Programme (ESP) in schools

Enhance curriculum and skills training to prepare graduates for the green economy

  • Our IHLs are investing in skills for the future so that graduates and working adults can tap on new opportunities presented by the growth of the green economy. They have refreshed their course offerings and are introducing specialised courses and common modules to equip individuals with forward-looking skills to thrive in emerging green jobs or existing jobs that are being "greened".
  • They provide training in areas such as sustainable built environment, green engineering solutions, green finance, and environmental sciences.

Explore research, innovation, and community projects to advance our sustainability goals

  • Our IHLs partner with companies, agencies and the community on research and innovation projects as part of their hands-on approach to sustainability education, and have been developing and deploying new solutions that advance national sustainability efforts.

Living laboratories to enhance national sustainability efforts

  • Some IHLs use their own campuses as 'living laboratories' to support national research and talent development efforts.
    • The ITE-SembCorp Centre for Sustainable Solutions at the institute of Technical Education (ITE) College East is a training centre for integrated sustainable solutions with an emphasis on photovoltaic systems. Launched in 2021, the centre aims to train about 440 students and mid-career professionals annually to build up the skilled manpower needed for the growing solar industry in Singapore.
    • Researchers from Republic Polytechnic (RP) are developing a solution to turn incineration bottom ash (IBA) into construction aggregates that can be added to produce ready-mixed concrete. This is done through an encapsulation process using an RP-innovated formulation that creates a protective layer to prevent toxic heavy metals from leaching to the environment.
    • Launched in Jan 2022, Temasek Polytechnic's (TP) Integrative Built Environment Centre (IBEC) aims to train around 2,000 students and working professionals on the different aspects of sustainability and the built environment through internship opportunities, real-world project collaborations, as well as exposure to the latest technologies in the sector.
    • The National University of Singapore's (NUS) SDE4 building is an award-winning net zero energy building powered by more than 1,200 rooftop photovoltaic panels. Part of the College of Design and Engineering, SDE4 has a range of architectural features which enables the efficient and sustainable use of energy and water. Functioning as a living laboratory for sustainable development, SDE4 is a cutting-edge eco-conscious facility which inspires innovative research in future green buildings, in collaboration with industry and Government agencies.
    • Since its launch in 2014, the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) initiated the Renewable Energy Integration Demonstrator - Singapore (REIDS), a testbed on Semakau Island, has been a living lab for the design, demonstration and testing of sustainable and cost-effective energy solutions for off-grid and urban communities. For instance, a massive wind turbine at the R&D facility, can generate enough wind energy to power as many as 35 Housing Development Board flats annually. Integrating multiple energy sources and storage solutions to reduce the nation's carbon footprint, REIDS is one of NTU's largest living testbeds.
    • The Singapore Management University (SMU), in collaboration with Imperial College London, established the Singapore Green Finance Centre in 2020 as the first centre of excellence to support and transform businesses in Singapore and the Asian region in the areas of Sustainability, Climate and Green Finance. Supported by industry partners and the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the centre promotes high-impact research, educational programmes, and new talent development.

Supporting local enterprises to deploy sustainable solutions

  • In partnership with industry, IHLs are empowering local enterprises and organisations to reduce their carbon emissions.
    • Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) and Schneider Electric launched a Sustainability Experience Centre in Jan 2022 to assist small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to implement energy efficient initiatives at the workplace. The centre aims to reach out to 100 companies by 2023, with NYP staff and students co-creating solutions to help these companies reach their sustainability goals.
    • Set up in 2006, Ngee Ann Polytechnic's (NP) Environmental & Water Technology Centre of Innovation (EWTCOI) provides SMEs with practical and market-driven technology solutions in the areas of waste reduction, water and energy efficiency. EWTCOI has partnered with local start-up, Firmbase, to develop water filtration membranes with anti-clogging properties that can operate at a lower pressure, reducing energy consumption by about five per cent. EWTCOI has also been supporting the local F&B industry with technology that reduces water consumption by up to 30 per cent.
    • Singapore Polytechnic has an ongoing collaboration with Grundfos, a global water technology company, to jointly develop energy-saving and water-saving smart solutions to help local industries achieve sustainable development, and be better positioned to maintain their competitiveness globally.
    • Since 2021, the Singapore Institute of Technology has been working with Singapore-based agritech company Archisen on an agrivoltaics project – rooftop hydroponic farms that harvest electricity from the sun and use probiotics to better grow leafy greens and herbs. This aims to build greater self-sufficiency in local food production and encourage adoption of renewable energy resources.
    • The Singapore University of Technology and Design and SingHealth will explore research and innovation initiatives to achieve a smart, low-carbon status for the Changi General Hospital campus and the upcoming integrated general and community hospital campus at Bedok North.

Partnering communities and encouraging youths to champion sustainability

  • Our IHLs engage and partner communities on sustainability projects to save resources and energy.
    • Students at the Singapore University of Social Sciences partner Bamboo Builders, a social enterprise, and SG Food Rescue, a ground-up initiative, to tackle food waste.
  • The IHLs also encourage youth engagement and ownership to create ripple effects among the wider community.
    • In collaboration with the National Youth Council, students from the six Autonomous Universities and ITE participated in an inter-Varsity Youth Conversation, where they brainstormed and discussed ideas to achieve the vision of the SGP30. Representatives from the government, think-tanks and civic society also shared their views during panel discussions.

Advance the Eco Stewardship Programme (ESP) in schools

  • Announced at COS 2021, MOE's Eco Stewardship Programme has built on existing environmental efforts in schools to holistically nurture Eco Stewards for our future. We have done this though the 4Cs (Curriculum, Culture, Community and Campus) from primary to pre-university levels:

Curriculum

  • We have since refreshed our Humanities, Science, and Character and Citizenship Education curricula to enhance the teaching and learning of sustainability concepts. To make student learning more authentic, we have co-developed digital and hands-on learning resources with partners such as Sembcorp and Energy Market Authority.

Culture

  • To strengthen the importance of sustainability as an integral part of our Culture, sustainability practices that students can adopt as daily habits have been incorporated into Everyday Responsibilities, such as saving energy and water, and reducing food waste. The Eco Stewardship Programme Toolkit that is being developed will include good practices and resources for schools to further support them in their sustainability journey.

Community

  • We will continue to further partnerships with the community in enrichment, Values in Action and Education and Career Guidance.

Campus

  • To support the move to reduce net carbon emissions in schools, we are progressively deploying sustainability features such as solar panels and energy-efficient LED lights.
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