Sri Bestari Private School Kuala Lumpur being an ECO Green Flag school under WWF-Malaysia and the Foundation for Environment Education (FEE), Denmark are constantly seeking ways to bring environment education and sustainability concepts to the students and her community. This year 2021 it provided Sri Bestari an opportunity to go international with a Japanese School in Tokai Fukuoka High School in Fukuoka, Japan which incidentally is a sister school under our Student Ex-Change Programme for six (6) years running. As the whole world is affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns, Sri Bestari Private School Kuala Lumpur and Tokai Fukuoka High School embarked on a virtual exchange programme where students and teachers of both schools focussed the all-important topic, ‘Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’.
The programme placed emphasis on two (2) areas which was ‘Water’ and ‘Plastic Waste’, where students of both schools had to carry our research of the situation faced in their respective countries and engage in a presentation and a healthy dialog. Tokai Fukuoka High School presented their findings under 4 main headings which were virtual water, marine life and plastic, changes in Japanese daily life, and big companies approach to a plastic free society whilst their Malaysia counterparts deliberated on the school’s initiatives in water sustainability and plastic usage, single use plastic, and water sustainability at home. It was an eye opener for all participants as they tried to understand how these issues are addressed differently in another country and the Japanese and Malaysia students had so many questions to ask.
As the sessions were held in English, Tokai Fukuoka High School students also had an opportunity to hone their command of the language and Sri Bestari Private School students who study Japanese as an elective subject practice their Japanese in their private virtual discussions with their friends in Japan. This augurs well for students of both countries as not only knowledge on the environment is gained but friendship and camaderie are nurtured among our young. The Principal of Tokai Fukuoka High School, Mr Kenji Tsuyama views this as an opportunity and responsibility in bringing about world peace through such close programmes and collaboration. Malaysian students also took the opportunity to showcase their rich multi-cultural society that makes our nation a true example of the adage, “Unity in Diversity”.
The virtual exchange programme carried out between 5-16 March 2021 involved very meticulous and detailed planning between teachers and administrators of Tokai Fukuoka High School and Sri Bestari Private School Kuala Lumpur. Many hours of coaching and guiding the students were conducted by the teachers prior to each virtual meeting so that students are well prepared and able to make full use of the meetings to share their ideas and thoughts. Sri Bestari Private School Kuala Lumpur being an ECO Green Flag school is fortunate to have Mr Shamsul Mutaza as the Head of the ECO Team to help guide the students on ecological and sustainability aspects.
As the world grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic, it was heartening to hear voices of hope from both Japanese and Malaysian students as well as teachers and Principals of both schools that when the situation is brought under control the Tokai-Sri Bestari Student Exchange programme will be able to resume once again and students could travel and meet their close friends in person and we are all anxiously looking forward to that day of reckoning.