Education review needed for more ‘climate-literate’ students

Published by Kayle Crosson on

March 25th, 2019

The Climate Action Committee looks set to call for the Department of Education to review primary and secondary education curriculum to ensure that students are more climate literate.

The draft of a much-awaited committee report seen by The Green News states that the committee is of the view that the current curriculum does not have a strong enough focus climate change.

The draft report – that is subject to change prior to its release later this week – notes that geography, identified by the committee as a critical subject for engaging on the topic, has been removed as a core Junior Certificate subject.

Therefore, the Committee states in the draft that there are “insufficient opportunities” in the formal education system to learn about or act on climate change.

Children and future generations, the draft goes on to say, will be most impacted by climate change and it is “imperative” that they are educated on its national and global consequences.

It also found that children have a “stronger understanding” of the need for action to reduce emissions and to protect the environment.

The Committee recognises the impact of teenage Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. The draft cites her influence as a “testament to the potential power of youth” in bringing about the change necessary to meet the challenges of global warming.

Climate strike in Cork city Photo: Shamim Malekmian

Fridays for Future

Greta sparked an international movement in August when she began a solo protest on the steps of the Swedish parliament, demanding that her government take greater action in addressing climate change.

Since then, the FridaysforFuture movement has seen weekly strikes being held across the globe, including every Friday between 1 and 2 pm in front of the Dáil.

Most recently, over one million students from 128 countries took part in the international School Strike for Climate Action on 15 March. Over 10,000 Irish students alone gathered before Leinster House as part of the strike to urge the Government to adopt immediate and effective climate policy.

The Taoiseach welcomed the participation of Irish students in the international school climate strike, acknowledging that for young people “it is their future that is in jeopardy.”

However, proposed Fine Gael amendments to the draft report seen by The Green News looks to water down recommendations for more ambitious 2050 emissions targets.

At present, the draft report recommends that new legislation should be introduced this year to include a strict net-zero emissions 2050 target in line with the latest findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Fine Gael’s amendment looks to replace this recommendation with a provision for “an ambitious 2050 target” outside of the legislation and based on advice from a new expert Climate Action Council.

The amendments are set to be voted on in private session this Tuesday, with the committee to consider the report in public session on Wednesday afternoon.

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Categories: News

Kayle Crosson

Kayle is a multimedia journalist focused on climate and environmental issues and contributes to The Irish Times and The Green News.