TWO Malaysian schools have done the country proud by getting nominated as finalists for the Mondialogo School Contest 2007/2008 in Beijing. Daimler and Unesco recently announced the 50 best schools, which fielded participants from 36 countries. Amongst them are SMK USJ 13 and Sultan Alam Shah Islamic College (KISAS) from Klang.
The contest, initiated by Daimler and Unesco in 2003, is currently in its third year.
Students from SMK USJ13 (seated) and Sultan Alam Shah Islamic College (in tudung), together with representatives from Mercedes-Benz Malaysia and well-wishers, smiling for the camera.
It aims to develop understanding, tolerance and respect for students of different cultures, religions and languages by getting them to work on a joint project across continents.
SMK USJ 13 partnered with team Camilo Torres from Bogota, Columbia, while KISAS partnered with Scoala generala cu clasele I-VII nr 7 Buzau from Romania.
The Malaysian teams and their South American and East European counterparts met for the first time in China to present their projects to an international jury this week.
Key criteria for the nomination were the intensity of the intercultural dialogue between the partner teams and the creative implementation of the projects.
SMK USJ 13 and Camilo Torres collaborated with WWF Switzerland to create a campaign called “A Dollar A Person”. The teams set up a blog and also highlighted their environmental efforts via posters, poetry and prose. The website proved a success, with over 1,000 hits in three weeks.
According to SMK USJ 13 project leader, Brindha Kanniah, 15, the language barrier was a problem in the beginning but the teams coped and ended up having an enjoyable and enriching experience.
“Although they had limited Internet access and resources, we enjoyed working with our Colombian friends.
“They helped me learn about conditions in their country,” said Brindha, who will presenting the details of the project in Beijing.
KISAS team leader, Zaiyah Masturah Mohd Yasin, 16, said that his team did not face language barriers as both schools communicated in English.
Their project, entitled “Global Warming Through Education” aims to increase awareness on the effects of global warming.
An aspiring doctor, Zaiyah said that she would love to win but stressed: “The primary goal is to educate the masses about the danger and reality of global warming. We need to save the world today for the future generations.”
Since its inception, a total of 60,000 school students around the world have participated in the Mondialogo School Contest.