According to The Guardian, teachers will follow on the heels of striking students on Friday with a protest to demand the national curriculum be reformed to make the climate and ecological crisis an educational priority.
It is intended as a show of solidarity for pupils who skipped classes last Friday to express their frustration at the failure of older generations to adequately address climate change. Organisers said more than 10,000 young people in at least 60 towns and cities in the UK joined the strike.
More would be likely to follow, they said, if the government did not live up to a Paris climate agreement promise to enhance climate change education. Instead, they say, there is currently no requirement for children to be taught about the climate crisis so it is treated, at best, as a peripheral subtopic of subjects like geography and science.
Tim Jones, a secondary school teacher from Lewisham, said students in the state system could easily go through 11 years of compulsory education and hear climate change mentioned in fewer than 10 lessons out of approximately 10,000. Given the scale of the crisis, he believes this is “negligent”.
The government said the current curriculum already included many related issues including classes on seasonal changes, the water cycle, the carbon cycle, eco-systems, the composition of the atmosphere and the impact of carbon dioxide on the climate. “Children are very engaged, otherwise they would not be joining protests. That shows they are obviously being taught quite well,” said a government official.
The education secretary, Damian Hinds, has criticised the young strikers. “Missing class won’t do a thing to help the environment; all they will do is create extra work for teachers,” he said.
Friday’s demonstration is expected to draw between 100 and 200 teachers and academics, most of whom are on half-term holiday. Organisers are also in talks with unions to discuss how to increase support during the next global youth climate strike on 15 March, with possibilities ranging from a walkout by teachers to the setting of homework on climate topics. Extinction Rebellion will also offer workshops for students.
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