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Story | Education
19 October 2021

How students at a QF school are helping to provide sustainable solutions to global challenges

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How students at a QF school are helping to provide sustainable solutions to global challenges

QAST students share their ideas on how to reduce the carbon footprint of Qatar and the world with Qatargas experts

Driven by their passion for science, their enthusiasm for knowledge, and their interaction with the educational environment around them, students at a Qatar Foundation school are seeking to answer a crucial question: How can we reduce the carbon footprint of our community"

At Qatar Academy for Science and Technology (QAST), a STEM-focused school that is part of Qatar Foundation's (QF’s) Pre-University Education, students have been seeking solutions to real-world sustainability challenges in collaboration with a team of professionals from Qatargas.

Vaughan Lewis - How students at a QF school are helping to provide sustainable solutions to global challenges - QF - Quotes - 01
Vaughan Lewis - How students at a QF school are helping to provide sustainable solutions to global challenges - QF - Quotes - 01

QAST aims to enable students to gain the knowledge and skills they need to help find solutions to the challenges the world is facing

Vaughan LewisAssistant Principal at QAST
Vaughan LewisAssistant Principal at QAST

As Vaughan Lewis, Assistant Principal at QAST, says: “QAST aims to enable students to gain the knowledge and skills they need to help find solutions to the challenges the world is facing.

“One reason Qatargas collaborated with our school on this project is that we focus primarily on science, technology, and mathematics, and instead of just lecturing them or giving them some information about the carbon footprint, we allowed our students to find some sustainable solutions themselves.”

Vaughan explained that the goal of this activity is for students to realize that they do not have to wait until they graduate from school or university and get a job to make a difference in their community, but that they can do so while at school by coming up with their own solutions.

A four-day workshop brought together Grade 8, 9 and 10 students as the Qatargas team explained to them the importance of reducing their carbon footprint. The purpose of this activity was to encourage students to think about how they can reduce their carbon footprint and help reduce global warming.

Samir Shabaneh - How students at a QF school are helping to provide sustainable solutions to global challenges - QF - Quotes - 03
Samir Shabaneh - How students at a QF school are helping to provide sustainable solutions to global challenges - QF - Quotes - 03

It is vital that we learn about these challenges at an early age because we may help now and urge our friends and families to reduce the damage that affects our environment

Samir Shabaneh
Samir Shabaneh

“This activity added meaning to what they are learning and made them realize why they were studying such subject matters at school,” said Vaughan. “At QAST, we strive to make everything the students learn down-to-earth, so they become more passionate to learn more.”

QAST students presented new ideas through presentations, in both Arabic and English, on how to reduce the carbon footprint of their community through sustainability in various areas such as electricity and water consumption, food waste, transportation, and buying and selling.

Among those taking part was Grade 9 QAST student Salma Hossamelden Ratab, who said: “I learned a lot – I didn’t realize before how food waste relates to our environment and climate change.

“But when we researched this topic, we found that many food items in Qatar are not locally manufactured, so they need to be transported here from somewhere else, and this contributes to the release of carbon dioxide into the air and the increase in greenhouse gases.

“My team’s project was about food waste and what can we do to reduce it, as food waste or food imported from abroad is one cause of global warming emissions, so we were looking for solutions and ways to reduce it and improve our lives.”

Grade 8 student Samir Shabaneh said: “We learned the importance of reducing our carbon footprint for society, and about many solutions to stop or reduce our carbon footprint – because if it continues to rise, we will no longer have enough fresh air to breathe.

Huxley Lewis - How students at a QF school are helping to provide sustainable solutions to global challenges - QF - Quotes - 05
Huxley Lewis - How students at a QF school are helping to provide sustainable solutions to global challenges - QF - Quotes - 05

The carbon footprint is a tremendous challenge facing our world, and we can’t reduce it without changing our daily habits that may affect the environment

Huxley Lewis
Huxley Lewis

“It is vital that we learn about these challenges at an early age because we may help now and urge our friends and families to reduce the damage that affects our environment.”

Jenna Yaser Darweesh, also a Grade 8 student at QAST, said: “From this experience, I learned how much energy an air conditioner consumes to make the place the right temperature for us.

“Through our project, we aim to encourage others to use the Metro instead of the car, because it does not pollute the air and so reduces carbon emissions.”

And fellow Grade 8 student Huxley Lewis said: “The carbon footprint is a tremendous challenge facing our world, and we can’t reduce it without changing our daily habits that may affect the environment, such as the excessive use of electricity and water. If we don’t, there will be dire consequences for life on this planet.

“I found that what we tried to implement during this activity is very much related to the educational subjects that we study in school, such as mathematics, biology, chemistry, and computer programming. It is so great to be able to put what we learn in school into practice.”

Afra Mubarak Al-Hajri - How students at a QF school are helping to provide sustainable solutions to global challenges - QF - Quotes - 06
Afra Mubarak Al-Hajri - How students at a QF school are helping to provide sustainable solutions to global challenges - QF - Quotes - 06

The reason we chose QAST is that it is one of Qatar’s leading schools in various fields of science

Afra Mubarak Al-HajriSenior Environment Regulatory and Compliance Officer at Qatargas
Afra Mubarak Al-HajriSenior Environment Regulatory and Compliance Officer at Qatargas

Afra Mubarak Al-Hajri, Senior Environment Regulatory and Compliance Officer at Qatargas, said: “Through our cooperation with QAST, we aim to raise awareness among students about environmental challenges, and the reason we chose QAST is that it is one of Qatar’s leading schools in various fields of science.

“Through my conversations with the students, I felt that they have a high level of environmental awareness, so we did not find it difficult to explain what a carbon footprint is and how we can reduce it, or what are the daily habits we have that affect the environment. The students responded very well, gave many examples of their solutions, and we saw their desire to improve and maintain sustainability in Qatar and the world.

“We believe that teaching children about sustainability and its importance at an early age is essential for the future. Through our interactive activity, we shared with the students their new ideas that might contribute to reducing environmental damage, and some of these ideas may be taken into consideration and turned into concrete projects.”

Dr. Gregory J. Moncada, Director of QAST, said: “Our mission empowers students to become innovators who master the knowledge and skills required to create solutions for challenges that face Qatar and the world.  The Carbon Footprint project is an excellent example of how QAST invites stakeholders into school to share their challenges and then inspire our students to learn about and then participate in the development of real-world solutions. 

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How students at a QF school are helping to provide sustainable solutions to global challenges - QF - 01

QAST students presented new ideas through presentations, in both Arabic and English, on how to reduce the carbon footprint of their community through sustainability.

How students at a QF school are helping to provide sustainable solutions to global challenges - QF - 02
How students at a QF school are helping to provide sustainable solutions to global challenges - QF - 03
How students at a QF school are helping to provide sustainable solutions to global challenges - QF - 003

“At QAST we believe students should not have to wait until college to begin developing solutions for real problems.  In truth, students want to be involved and they become impressively motivated and engaged as they attempt to create real solutions.  Over the course of our five-year program, students develop their problem solving, critical analysis, communication, and teamwork skills whereby they become proficient at developing solutions that are valued and useful.  This model is working, and out stakeholders are invariably impressed with our students’ understanding of the problems as well as with the novel solutions our students generate. 

“As a progressive STEM school, we provide a rigorous course of studies and, through our innovation center, we cultivate using this content knowledge to improve problem solving skills. Applying their learning to real-world problems, in turn, deepens their knowledge of the content, while also developing new ways of thinking about how their learning can improve the world around them.”

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