Category Archives: Education

Green Chemistry

Ιn a world of growing population and limited resources, the idea of sustainable development is the main priority for the future of the 21st century. Only research and innovation will enable the development of economic and social networks and procedures to satisfy the requirements for sustainability. Chemistry, as the science of matter and its transformations, plays a crucial role in the revolution of science to technology and is the bridge between physics and biological sciences. To lead the reactions and chemical processes to maximum efficiency we need awareness, creativity and foresight. The term “Green Chemistry” was coined for the efforts to this direction.

The target

To promote innovative chemical technologies to reduce or eliminate the use or creation of hazardous substances regarding the design, the industrialization and the use of chemicals.

The idea

The idea of Green Chemistry developed during the 1990’s, at the same time with many citizens’ movements to protect the environment and scientists working in research and development of chemical industries and research centers. The term «Green Chemistry» was proposed and established by the Greek origin Paul Anastas, who is considered the father of Green Chemistry an important scientist, Professor at YALE University.

Efforts and  practices for application

Given the enormous amounts of money spent on antiquated methods  and the simultaneous use of time consuming synthetic steps with toxic cleaning solvents, various initiatives have been launched by chemical scientists with long-chemical work in chemical laboratories and industries. Some scientists in their articles had already highlighted these practices and now the awakening of the environmental movement as well as the idea of sustainability have started to prepare the necessary changes.

Institutes of Green Chemistry

During the last decade many Green Chemistry Institutes have been created in different countries (Japan, Italy, China, Australia, Sweden, Germany, Spain, Taiwan, etc.).Some examples are the Canadian Green Chemistry Network, Centre for Green Chemistry (Australia), Green and Sustainable Chemistry Network (Japan).

University Departments

Many Universities and Departments of Chemistry offer in recent years Undergraduate and Graduate courses in Green Chemistry. Here are some of them: Green Chemical Engineering Material Framework, University of Texas, Austin, USA. Green Chemistry for Process Engineering, University of Nottingham, England. Industrial and Applied Green Chemistry, University of York, England. Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering, Yale University, USA. Greener Education Materials for Chemists, University of Oregon, USA.

World Teachers’ Day

10.5.2011: “Teachers for gender equality”

World Teachers Day was established by UNESCO in 1994, in order to recognize and support the work of millions of teachers worldwide. So October 5 is a celebration focused on the teachers, their needs and problems, honoring their invaluable service to the society as well as their struggle to build a better future for all school students.

The idea for a day of the year devoted to teachers took ground independently in many countries in the course of the 20th century. As a result, it is still celebrated on different dates in various parts of the world, usually in memory of an important local personality of letters or politics with a significant educational contribution. Nevertheless, being also supported and promoted by the International Federation of Educators (Education International), the World Teachers’ Day has spread considerably in the following years of its establishment and today is recognized and honored in more than 100 countries.

The theme chosen for this year was “Teachers for gender equality”. Even if gender equality is now enshrined into the constitutions of most states, this is a major issue for the education sector too, which remains open in many regions around the world, as evidenced by the relevant numbers: the majority of children staying out of school are girls, while 2/3 of illiterate adults are women.

According to the definition of UNESCO, “gender equality” in education refers to boys and girls experiencing the same advantages or disadvantages in attending school, the same approaches in terms of teaching methods, gender neutral curricula, and academic orientation, all of which aim to ensure equal learning achievement and subsequent life opportunities.

Available data for 2011 show that, while overall gender disparities in primary and secondary school enrolments have narrowed since 1999, a significant difference in favor of boys still exists in 69 countries worldwide.

The issue of gender inequality is not restricted to schoolchildren, but also extends to teachers themselves, as in some cases, although female teachers often represent a vast majority compared to their male colleagues, they do not hold a proportional number of leadership and management positions. Far from that, the truth is that the formation and control of educational systems remains largely a male affair, which naturally has implications for the students, too.

On the occasion of this year’s World Day, the above aspects of the inequality issue from the teacher’s side were subjected to an e-forum from 12 to 23 September and are also discussed in a relevant workshop organized by the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) of UNESCO on 3-4 October. The various opinions and positions expressed and the conclusions drawn from these two processes will be collected and presented in the framework of the official celebration of the World Teachers’ Day on October 5, at the headquarters of the Organization in Paris.

The Sustainable School Award

The sustainable school is the future of schools. It is self-sufficient, self-directed, environmentally friendly based on ecological standards not only in buildings infrastructure and administrative operations but in teaching and learning processes and students training as well. It operates democratically, it has strong relations with local communities and local authorities and contributes to achieve the national goal of green development.

The Sustainable School Award is a competition between schools of Primary and Secondary Education. There is a different prize for any different level of Education.

Schools compete to achieve performances in three areas (educational, social and administrative, environmental). There are specific “indexes” or quality criteria for each one of these areas for the participating schools to be fulfilled. These indexes are based on the Sustainable Development indexes of the United Nations and the Educational indexes of Sustainability of UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe). The quality criteria, the indexes and the applications for participation as well can be filled in the official web page of the Award.

Schools’ participation is optional and there are no commitments or penalties in case of withdrawal. Applications for participation are filled every October. Then schools develop their actions during the school year and at the end of May they enter the proofing data of their actions.

The first Award goes to the school which gathers the highest number of points and it is the funding of an environmental visit of 4000 or 5000 euros for the Primary or Secondary Education Schools. There are also special prizes and grant awards to a percentage of the participating schools in the contest.
The Sustainable School Award is under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, Lifelong Learning and Religious Affairs. WIND Hellas and the Bodosakis Foundation are the sponsors of the Award in Greece.

The 2nd High School of Xylokastro Korinthias is the 1st winner of the Sustainable School Award of 2010/11. We congratulate this year’s winners.

Green University Dpt’s of Greece (part II: graduate programs)

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In the previous edition of green issue we referred to environmental schools housing the Greek Universities and relating to undergraduate studies. To create a more complete picture of the “green Greek education”, we believe that the various graduate programs offered by the Greek higher education institutions should be mentioned.

It is important to note, that there is a fair amount of graduate programs that have been associated with the environment and ecology.

Below we present you some of them:

NATIONAL TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY OF ATHENS. School/Department: Rural – Surveying Engineering. Graduate Program:  Environment and Development. The program aims to help create a common code of communication, methods and practices of collaboration between scientists from different disciplines, towards a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach, analysis, research, study address of the multifaceted and highly complex issues and current environmental problems and development.

NATIONAL & KAPODISTRIAN UNIVERSITY OF ATHENS. Faculty/Department: Pedagogical Primary Education. Graduate Program:  MSc in Technology and Environment. The program aims to train in specialized fields of knowledge and research to ensure both the expertise and contribution to the cultivation and development of primary scientific research and the formulation and promotion of scientific thinking.

ARISTOTLE UNIVERSITY OF THESSALONIKI. School/Department: Forestry and Natural Environment. Graduate Program: Forestry and Natural Environment. The program aims to promote scientific knowledge and meet the educational, research and development needs of a countrie in the field of Forestry and Natural Environment. It provides students with basic scientific principles and integrated knowledge and methods that will enable them scientists who can create new knowledge through direct applicability in practice and dissemination of knowledge to future generations.

UNIVERSITY OF THE AEGEAN. Faculty/Department: Environment. Graduate Program:  Environmental Policy and Management. The program aims to combine the knowledge acquired in the fields of environmental sciences, ecosystem management and biodiversity, political science, economic, scientific management and urban planning.

UNIVERSITY OF PATRAS. School/Department: Biology. Graduate Program: Ecology, Management and Protection of Natural Environment. The program aims to postgraduate education and training of young scientists in frontier areas of biological sciences, which are directly related to the development of biological technology and environmental biology.

UNIVERSITY OF PIRAEUS. School/Department: Industrial Management and Technology. Graduate Program: Energy Management Systems and Environmental Protection. The program aims to methodical and analytical formulation of the energy and environmental problems and to explore feasible ways, to create executive staff members who will be able to meet current and future business needs of companies and organizations, in organizing, operating and supporting systems for energy management and environmental protection.

 

Green University Dpt’s of Greece

It is a fact that, in Greece, Institutes of higher education the scientific field of which focuses on the environment and ecology are not ready to absorb the “green” wave that has engulfed Europe over the past few years. Young people are either unaware of their existence or have not been properly informed of the vocational education and training that these institutes offer on both an academic and a professional level. The aim of the present article is to provide information on some of Greece’s Institutes of higher education that provide vocational education and training on ecological and environmental issues:

Department of Environmental Engineering of the Democritus University of Thrace. Base 2009: 17,051 credits. Contact information: Democritus University of Thrace, 12, Vas. Sofias street, 67100 Xanth. Tel No.: +30 25410-79393, Email: info@env.duth.gr

Environmental Engineering Department of the Technical University of Crete. Base 2009: 16,661 credits. Contact information: Tel No.: +30 28210-37858

Faculty of Forestry and Natural Environment of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Base 2009: 13,209 credits. Contact information: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, P.C. 54124.    Tel. No.: +30 2310 -995199

Department of Environmental and Natural Resources Management of the University of Ioannina (Agrinio).Base 2009: 11,537 credits. Contact information: 2, Seferi street, 30100 Agrinio. Tel.No.: +30 26410-74112

Department of Environmental Studies of the University of the Aegean. Base 2009: 10,557 credits. Contact information: Department of Environmental Studies, “Xenia B” building, Lofos Panepistimiou, 81100 Mytilene. Tel.No.: +30 22510-36200, +30 22510-36202, Email: secr@env.aegean.gr

Department of Forestry and Management of the Environment and Natural Resources of the Democritus University of Thrace (Orestiada).Base 2009: 10,228 credits.Contact information: 193, Pantazidou street, 68200 Orestiada. Tel.No.: +30 2552-041171 -2-3, Email: secr@fmenr.duth.gr

Department of Geotechnology and Environmental Engineering of the Technological Educational Institute of Western Macedonia (Kozani). Base 2009: 9,228 credits. Contact information: Technological Educational Institute of Western Macedonia, Koila, Kozani, 50100. Tel.No.: +30  24610- 40161 -5, extension 255 (Registrar’s Office).

Natural Resources and Environment Department of the Technological Educational Institute of Crete. Base 2009: 9,129 credits. Contact information: Technological Educational Institute of Crete Branch of Chania, 3, Romanou street, Chalepa, Chania 73133. Tel.No.: +3028210-23000, Email: info@chania.teicrete.gr

Department of Ecology and Environment of the Technological Educational Institute of Ionion Islands. Base 2009: 8,919 credits. Contact information: 2, Andrea Kalvou Square, 29100 Zakynthos. Tel.No.: +30 26950 24940

The aim of the above departments is to educate and train young scientists who want to dedicate themselves to the protection and development of the environment. The time has come to inform young people of the existence of these institutes of higher education in which more and more people are expected to show interest in the future, as they have already had in the rest of Europe.

Environmental Education in Greek Schools

According to the 1892/90 Law and the relevant circulars, the Environmental Education is part of the programs of Primary and Secondary Education Levels. The Environmental Education is a relatively new attempt to intervene in school life and:

  • make students to realize the relationship between humans and the natural and social environment,
  • be aware of the problems associated with it and
  • be active in specific programs to help facing them

As an educational process / activity helps to:

  • clarify concepts,
  • identify values,
  • the development / cultivation of skills and attitudes needed in decision making and
  • the devise of contact code relating to environmental quality problems both in individual and then in group/social level.

This behavior is achieved by a series of strategies that seek to help the student

  • to know, love and ultimately protect the environment, under the reasoning that “it is not possible to protect something that I do not love neither to love anything that I do not know.”

The implementation of Environmental Education programs generally seeks to:

  • Linking the school with the wider environment.
  • Providing knowledge on contemporary social concerns, the professions and the production process.
  • Adapting education programs to students’ individual differences (growth inclinations, interests, physical and mental abilities).

Specifically:

  • Education about the environment.

It is the acquisition of knowledge about the environment and environmental problems and awareness of what is happening around us. The environment is considered the subject of learning.

  • Education by and within the environment.

The environment “is used” as a means of  knowledge, a tool of developing skills and abilities and as a source of learning. That is, the knowledge acquired from the environment – source of knowledge- through direct experience that builds on activities that occur within the environment itself  in direct contact with things and phenomena. The environment is considered as a means,  research field and source of learning.

  • Education for the environment.

The improvement of the quality of the environment (and thus the quality of life), with appropriate environmental practices and the involvement of the responsible citizen in the decision making and actions to prevent and solve   environmental problems. The environment is considered the goal.

source: 1st EPAL of Ano Liossia website