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An inspirational school in Hong Kong has been named in the Top 10 shortlists for the $250,000 World’s Best School Prizes. The five World’s Best School Prizes, founded last year by T4 Education in collaboration with Accenture, American Express, Yayasan Hasanah, and the Lemann Foundation, are the world’s most prestigious education prizes.
The Harbour School Hong Kong, an independent international school in Ap Lei Chau, Hong Kong, China, which has launched an educational seaweed farming project to promote ocean sustainability, has been named in the Top 10 shortlist for the World’s Best School Prize for Environmental Action.
The five World’s Best School Prizes - for Community Collaboration, Environmental Action, Innovation, Overcoming Adversity, and Supporting Healthy Lives - celebrate schools everywhere for the pivotal role they play in developing the next generation of learners and for their enormous contribution to society’s progress, especially in the wake of COVID. The Prizes were established to share the best practices of schools that are transforming the lives of their students and making a real difference to their communities.
Jill Huntley, Managing Director – Global Corporate Citizenship, at Accenture, said:
“Congratulations to The Harbour School on being named in the Top 10 shortlist for the World’s Best School Prize for Environmental Action 2023. Teachers everywhere will be inspired by the example of this outstanding school in Hong Kong, whose inspirational work shows the path to a better tomorrow.”
“Accenture is proud to collaborate with T4 Education on the World’s Best School Prize for Environmental Action, which celebrates schools’ incredible efforts to empower the next generation to harness new technologies and innovative practices that tackle the global sustainability issues that impact us all.”
Vikas Pota, Founder of T4 Education and the World’s Best School Prizes, said:
“The schools shortlisted for the World’s Best School Prizes, no matter where they can be found or what they teach, all have one thing in common. They all have a strong school culture. Their leaders know how to attract and motivate exceptional educators, inspire change, and build excellent teaching and learning environments.
“I must congratulate The Harbour School on being named in the Top 10 shortlists for the World’s Best School Prizes 2023. Schools across the globe will learn from the story of this trailblazing institution in Hong Kong and the culture it has cultivated.”
About the school:
The Harbour School Hong Kong, an independent international school in Ap Lei Chau, Hong Kong, China, has introduced an incredibly simple and yet potentially revolutionary solution to ocean sustainability, combating climate change, and achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The school’s recently-launched Seaweed Farming Project introduces and educates students and the wider community about this sustainable aquaculture, creating a positive impact on both the education and environmental sectors.
The school has a research and education facility, called the Marine Science Centre, and a 50-foot sailboat called the Black Dolphin that takes students on field trips in open waters to study local marine life and the ocean, and has been instrumental in the Seaweed Farming Project.
Macroalgae (seaweed) improves seawater quality, increases biodiversity, produces oxygen and absorbs carbon from the atmosphere through photosynthesis, thereby playing an extremely important role in combating climate change and promoting ocean sustainability. Hong Kong, despite being surrounded by the ocean, is not commonly active in farming seaweed.
The Harbour School’s educational seaweed project began by connecting with seaweed experts around the world, who expressed support for the project and provided invaluable advice. With this, the school prepared the teaching and learning plan for the students, which included multiple excursions to the surrounding sea area, scouting for potential sites for prototype deployment and gathering seaweed samples.
Back at the school, students across all year groups learned about seaweed while some ran aquarium experiments, with the eighth grade spearheading the building of the actual farm structures in the school’s Foundry maker space. In August 2022, the school received a one-off funding of around US$10,000 from the Environment and Conservation Fund to launch the project for students and the public.
The students have already seen their farms begin to show growth. The school-wide project has brought cross-collaboration and synergy between the school and local and international community, providing a hands-on learning experience for students and bringing positive impact in the educational and environmental landscape.
The Top 3 finalists for each of the five World’s Best School Prizes will be announced in September 2023 followed by the winners in October. The winner of each Prize will be chosen based on rigorous criteria by a Judging Academy comprising distinguished leaders across the globe including academics, educators, NGOs, social entrepreneurs, government, civil society, and the private sector.
A prize of US$250,000 will be equally shared among the winners of the five Prizes, with each receiving an award of US$50,000.
All 50 shortlisted schools will be invited to share their best practices through events on the T4 Communities app or School Transformation Toolkits that showcase their “secret sauce” to innovative approaches and step-by-step instructions on how others can replicate their methods to help improve education everywhere.
The School Transformation Toolkits from last year’s winning and shortlisted schools are now available online.
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