The fight against Climate Change is one that requires a collective effort. However, it appears we have left the younger generation out of this fight, allowing them to grow without being educated enough about the threats climate change poses to our society.
In the article titled “Up for the Challenge! Ghana Aims to Educate All School Children About Climate Change” by United Nation Training Institute and Research (UNITAR) [http://unitar.org/challenge-ghana-aims-educate-all-school-children-about-climate-change], Ghana took a bold step to meeting the Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) No. 13.
This particular SDG calls upon all countries to integrate mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning into school curricula. Ghana has taken the lead by launching a process to include climate change and green economy concepts into the general education system. In rolling out the curriculum review, Ghana is seeking to learn from other countries that have already advanced the integration of climate change into school education. This is a very important step that will drastically reduce the number of climate denial in the coming generation. It is an action that will go a long way to increase awareness among the youth on the effects of climate change.
Today, basic school pupils might be considered as mere children, but in truth, they represent the next generation. They are the future leaders and researchers of this world. And to be able to confront the challenges they will come across, all children need the best-available, science-based information about climate change. Studies have shown that information given to students can be transferred to their families and wider communities. And as such, many benefits are to be derived when children get educated about climate change. Their understanding of the physical and social world is better enhanced, giving them the chance to participate in decisions concerning the society and to also get involved in community action. This, in turn, provides knowledge on how to live more sustainably.
A well-taught class should inspire in the pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Teaching pupils about climate change will equip them with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and environments, together with a deep understanding of the earth’s key physical and human processes.
As pupils progress, their growing knowledge about the world helps them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation of landscapes and environments. Geographical knowledge also provides the tools and approaches that explain how the earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and changes over time.
This policy will lead students through a progression of understanding. It will begin with students thinking about climate and weather, and the local impact of sea level rise due to climate change This is to hook the students to the unit, getting them to think about their own connection to climate change. It might be too early to teach climate change as a full course or subject in schools, but for a start, it could be a subsidiary topic under other subjects like Social Studies.
However, it is paramount that the teachers are trained on the subject “Climate Change” in order to better equip themselves with knowledge about the subject, and how to properly pass this knowledge to the pupils. In order to ensure these teachers are trained properly Pan Africa Centre for Climate Policy (PACC Policy) has developed a manual that can be used to equip teachers with the skills necessary to properly teach pupil. PACC Policy is ready to partner with any organization, school, governmental body who are open to adapt our manual. We will also want to encourage all other African countries to adopt a similar policy.
Ghana has taken the lead, but other countries must also follow suit. If Africa can win the fight against Climate Change, then it must be made a part of all of us from infancy. Teaching students on the topic is a step in the right direction, and every other country must embrace it.
By Umar Danbaba Josiah
Pan African Centre for Climate Policy
PACC Policy Editor
Phone: +2348031846771, +2348129552458
Edited by Emmanuel Ayamga