UAE: Ministry to fund select green startup ideas by students

The Ministry of Education on Thursday launched the Greening Education Hub under the theme ‘Legacy from the Land of Zayed’

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Nandini Sircar

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Photos: Supplied
Photos: Supplied

Published: Thu 23 Nov 2023, 7:03 PM

Last updated: Thu 23 Nov 2023, 7:06 PM

Green business ideas envisaged by students could soon see them become entrepreneurs.

Novel cross-curriculum initiatives by the Ministry of Education (MoE) will foster ecopreneurship among students, driving the development of sustainable solutions.

Various Ministry of Education programmes will actively aid students in their Ecopreneurial endeavours, while funding will also be allocated to sustain select projects, transforming them into viable startups aimed at providing solutions benefiting the broader community.

This was highlighted by Amna Al Dahak Al Shamsi, Assistant undersecretary of the care and capacity building sector at the Ministry of Education who highlighted that this was part of the ministry’s efforts to achieve the goals of the UAE Green Education Partnership Roadmap in preparation for the UAE’s hosting of COP28.

The MoE on Thursday launched the Greening Education Hub under the theme ‘Legacy from the Land of Zayed’.

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Addressing climate issues

The Hub aims to highlight the importance of education in addressing climate issues and the need to include education in the official discussions during COP28, held at Expo City Dubai from November 30 to December 12.

The space will include more than 250 workshops, 127 international sessions, and 151 national sessions.

Amna Al Dahak Al Shamsi.
Amna Al Dahak Al Shamsi.

Al Shamsi highlighted that the scope for this isn't limited to school-centric actions but encompasses innovative ideas from students as well.

“When we talk about greening communities it’s not just about what happens within schools but solutions that students are coming up with. That’s why we have a huge focus on Ecopreneurship. We have already started implementing several initiatives, like the Educators’ Voice and Net Zero Heros that support students in their Ecopreneural projects.”

“There will be funding in sustaining some of those projects so that they translate into actual businesses — startups that create solutions for the wider community,” she added.

Digital climate action skills

Schools, teachers and students will engage in panel discussions covering eco-literacy, Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), leveraging the activity-based learning method to boost digital climate action skills among adolescents.

Additionally, pupils will be able to explore topics such as implementing the Greening Education Partnership in Higher Education and the significance of scientific research and research networks in addressing climate change.

“We are trying to ensure that every educator, learner and schools does a minimum (in this regard) across all schools. It’s not just dependent on the school’s appetite to do or not to do, it will lean more towards a minimum requirement that schools must do.”

Eco-school model

While the Ministry under its ambit will train teachers, provide resources, and create a cross-curriculum framework, “but the onus is on institutions to adopt this eco-school model and implement it.”

“Our effort lies in incentivizing schools rather than making it an obligatory model. We are, anyway, all obligated towards the environment. It has to come with real understanding,” she added.

Prioritising resource conservation

Meanwhile, Dr Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi highlighted while the UAE's desert climate is marked by extreme heat and dryness, despite these hurdles, the nation remains resolute in its dedication to prioritizing resource conservation through innovative approaches.

He said that the Greening Education Hub was born out of months of collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and is a leap forward in placing education at the centre of climate action.

Al Falasi added, “Our ancestors lived in harmony with nature, taking only as much as they needed. Fast-forward to today and their age-old wisdom is still valid in our modern times. They recognised the vital importance of preserving precious natural resources for future generations.”

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