Move to drop debate on climate change in schools faces backlash

The Guardian is reporting that educationists and student groups have joined environmental organisations to condemn government plans to drop debate about climate change from the national curriculum for under-14-year-olds in English schools. This is an extract from the article…

The Guardian revealed on Monday that new draft guidelines for children in key stages 1 to 3 make no mention of it in the geography syllabus, with only a single reference to how carbon dioxide produced by humans affects the climate in the chemistry section. All references to sustainable development have also been dropped in a move widely interpreted as the result of political interference. The Department for Education is now consulting on the proposed changes.

Doug Bourn, director of the development education research centre at the Institute of Education, said dropping all mentions in the proposed slimmed-down geography curriculum allowed teachers to choose whether to include climate change but would make it easy for them to ignore it. “Climate change is important,” he said. “The danger is that it will now not be taught at all or that the vacuum could be filled by people who are not positive about it, like deniers.”

People and Planet, Britain’s largest student network campaigning on global poverty, human rights and the environment, has launched a campaign to lobby ministers not to go ahead with the change. It said: “Our experience working in schools and colleges has shown us that teaching about climate change is crucial to ensuring a new generation of young people understand and are able to be leaders on climate change, taking action to protect the environment and humans.

“Without knowledge and understanding of the social, economic and environmental impacts of climate change, how can we expect young people to be ready to deal with the impacts and help find the solutions to climate change that will play such a huge role in their futures?”

Toni Pearce, deputy president of the National Union of Students, said: “Climate change remains one of the single most urgent and important issues facing us, and it sends worrying signals about their priorities if politicians remove it from the curriculum. It is a complex issue and there is a lot of information in the media and from those with vested interests presenting themselves as experts, so it’s important it is increasingly embedded throughout the curriculum rather than being quietly pushed out.”

More at:  Move to drop debate on climate change in schools faces backlash

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Categories: Policy, Secondary and Teaching.

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