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JIS shortlisted for British award

JERUDONG International School (JIS), Brunei Darussalam has been shortlisted for the Outstanding Strategic Initiative Award in the prestigious British International Schools Award (BISA) for 2018.

The award winners will be announced in London, United Kingdom on January 22, 2018.

The initiative for which the school has been shortlisted is its Outdoor Discovery Centre (ODC).

Principal Barnaby Sandow said, “I am tremendously proud to hear that JIS has been shortlisted for this award ceremony. It is testament to the dedicated students and hard working, inspirational teachers at JIS who have united to create the ODC.”

Early in 2016, the school set aside a piece of land where a group of teachers and students restored its soil quality. Since then, projects on the land have been led by students.

“I’ve come to really enjoy and appreciate the environment around us,” said Kai Jie Hii, a Year 12 student who is a leader in the ODC committee.

Since May 2016, when the boundary was established, the ODC has become an important learning space for the school community. It was officially opened in January 2017.

Botanists from the nearby Universiti Brunei Darussalam assisted in identifying plants for parts of the centre.

Since September 2016, a group of students met weekly, mentored by a local permaculture expert to focus on using garden waste in a composting project.

The infrastructure for the ODC was developed with pathways, seating, signs and fencing installed by the students, assisted by teachers.

His Royal Highness Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex and Her Royal Highness Princess Sophie, the Countess of Wessex during their visit to the Jerudong International School

His Royal Highness Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex and Her Royal Highness Princess Sophie, the Countess of Wessex during their visit to the Jerudong International School

Junior School students visiting the Outdoor Discovery Centre

Junior School students visiting the Outdoor Discovery Centre

In April 2017 during the Earth Week, the ODC has its first opportunity to showcase itself to the whole school and several NGOs.

A highlight of Earth Week was the ‘herb spiral’ project, designed and constructed by senior school students. Coco Bennett, a final year A-Level student said, “Not only had the co-curricular activity made integration possible between the different year groups, it gave me a chance to step outside my comfort zone.”

Junior school students and middle year students visited the ODC to not only discover more about the natural world but also learn from projects by their seniors.

Many of the school’s Duke of Edinburgh Award students have chosen to carry out their service or skills activities in the ODC.

The school’s eco-JIS recycling team are also looking into ways that they can use the ODC to help them recycle and upcycle waste.

Shanie Chauhan, a Year 12 student who volunteered in the ODC as part of her Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, said, “It has given me an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. I am pleased to know that the ODC will continue to grow and develop.”

The senior students are using the ODC in a variety of ways. For example, physics students have an ongoing solar study to determine how to provide solar energy to the hub.

Geography students are undertaking research into issues such as “What conditions promote the growth of Brunei’s national flower Simpur (Dillenia Suffruticosa)?”

Art students regularly visit the ODC as a source of inspiration for their work.

The junior school is embarking on the ‘Farm to School’ project, sponsored by Progresif and in association with Agrome IQ. Interestingly, one of the Bruneian Agrome IQ personnel is a JIS alumnus, who also studied at Cardiff University in Environmental Science.

Borneo Bulletin | November 21, 2017