Abu Dhabi: An environmentally friendly building and space for recreation and sports are some of the vital features school premises should include, according to some public school students.

As part of the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) 10-year strategy plan, 18 new buildings will be built by mid-2010 across the emirate of Abu Dhabi .

The schools will include seven cycle one (Grade KG-5) schools, seven combined cycle two and cycle three schools (Grades 6-12), two cycle three schools (Grades 10-12), and two KG-12 schools.

In order to encourage student contribution in school designs, Adec sought proposals from students of 130 schools across the Emirates.

A panel of judges chose 18 designs from which they selected the top three which were from Al Afaq Model School, Al Yarmouk School and Sir Bani Yas School.

From these schools, 18 students were selected and each was given an award and a free laptop during the three-day Building Schools Exhibition Conference, which started on Sunday.

"The future schools design competition not only provided students with a valuable creative integrated learning opportunity, but also gave us insight into the features and elements of school design that appeal to students. A number of elements that we plan to incorporate into our new schools, such as sustainability features, space for creative activity and sports, and open environment, were important to these students as they were envisioning the future of schools in the emirate," said Salem Al Sayeri, acting director general at Adec.

The two-storey school building will include an auditorium, advanced scientific laboratory, computer room, music room, sports hall, an indoor swimming pool and gymnasium, library, large double-height dining space, eco-friendly courtyard, and a roof-top science class for outdoor learning.

The schools will also be eco-friendly with energy efficient air conditioning systems, and water-saving devices. Orientations, insulation and shading have been carefully planned, and all the electricity required for daily consumption in classrooms will be generated at the school site.

"The new school premises will have an environment-oriented culture, to help keep classrooms unpolluted and promote hygiene and cleanliness while learning. Today's announcement to launch one of the most basic projects is just a beginning," said Hamad Al Daheri, division manager for infrastructure and facilities at Adec. A deal was signed between Adec and Musanada, which will provide design and construction management services.

New step: model institutions chosen for programme

The model schools will be located in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Dalma Island

Cycles Vary:

• Abu Dhabi West: Cycle 2 and 3, girls school with 1,225 students

• Al Khatem: Cycle 1 to cycle 3, boys school, 600 students

• Al Khazna: Cycle KG to cycle 3, girls school, 600 students

• Al Quaa A: Cycle 2 and 3, boys school, 1,225 students

• Al Quaa B: Cycle 2 and 3, boys school, 1,225 students

• Al Ghafa A: Cycle KG and cycle 1, mixed school, 1,000 students

• Mezyard A: cycle KG and cycle 1, girls school, 1,000 students

What do you think of the proposed student initiatives? How can the next generation be made more environmentally responsible? Do you find children to be more accepting of changes in their lifestyle?