8 June 2023, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand - Wat Koh Wang Sai School, located in Nakhon Pathom province, Thailand, has emerged as a beacon of sustainable education by integrating the principles of Sufficiency Economy Philosophy (SEP) into its curriculum, learning environment, school management, and activities. This holistic approach, which it started in 2008, empowers students with knowledge and values that promote sustainability, creating a lasting impact on their lives and the community, and providing solutions to issues in their surroundings. The school, with about 800 students as of June 2023 and with 54 teachers and other education personnel, has received numerous citations from various agencies such as the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Ministry of Education, Princess Maha Chakri Award, among others as a model school for community sufficiency economy learning center.
Hence, this school was a perfect choice for benchmarking of SEP practices during the first Extraordinary Governing Board Meeting of the SEAMEO Regional Centre for Sufficiency Economy Philosophy for Sustainability (SEAMEO SEPS) on 8-10 June 2023 held at RXV Wellness Village, Sampran, Nakhon Pathom. The meeting venue, formerly called Suan Sampran or “Rose Garden” provided a perfect backdrop for the Meeting - thanks to Arus Nawarach, third generation heir to the property. He transformed the hotel into a center of organic produce and ecotourism creating an entire value chain based on sustainability.
The tour around the school was conducted by no less than the Senior Advisor for Sufficiency Economy Philosophy and Sustainable Development Centre, National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA), Bangkok Dr. Priyanut Dharmapiya. With a megaphone slung on her shoulder, Dr. Priyanut walked the GB Members around the school area where the students were engaged in their different SEP activities - growing vegetables, raising goats, hogs, chickens and feeding fish, among others. She also encouraged the participants to partake of the organic snacks prepared by students using their developed recipes.
By nurturing environmentally conscious students and promoting sustainable practices, the school creates a positive impact on the local community and serves as a model for sustainable education. Wat Koh Wang Sai School's commitment to SEP integration paves the way for a brighter, more sustainable future, where education acts as a catalyst for positive change and empowers students to become responsible global citizens.
SEAMEO SEPS is aiming to increase the number of schools that are integrating the SEP principles into their curriculum, learning environment and school activities as well as school management. Inspired by his Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great also known as King Rama IX, SEP is a homegrown concept that has caught the fire among individuals, groups and organisations that are passionate about living sustainably in a world that is full of contrasts. SEAMEO shares in this passion and vision and will continue to soldier on to do its part in securing for the people of Southeast an improved quality of life through cooperation and collaboration in education, science and culture.
By John Arnold Siena | Deputy Director (Programme Development) at SEAMEO Secretariat