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Education and climate change

When you think about climate change which has gained a lot popularity in the world, one thing that does not automatically come into mind is the connection of the responses to the effects of climate change and education and training programs.  With every country developing strategies to respond to the effects of climate change, it is expected that the effects of climate change will be dealt with through a combination of various efforts that include capacity development.

Under the United Nations Framework Convection on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Article 6 on education, training and public awareness there is a requirement to incorporate issues climate change into learning and development.  The thinking behind this being to emphasize on the importance of information sharing on the realities of the world in the day to day activities we undertake.

The effects of climate change are not instant and thus the responses to the effects of climate change should also be gradual, both through development of response strategies and creation of awareness at each stage of development and education. This could be done through the incorporation of climate change issues into the education system as a way of creating awareness on the realities of climate change. Save the Children International however raised concerns on when is the appropriate age to introduce climate change education to the children and how this should be structured. Under a guideline developed by the United Nations on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) it is noted that the incorporation of climate change to the education system is a strategy to promote knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that shape the future. It is therefore important to package climate change information for learners in age appropriated packages that ensure from the first interaction with environment studies learners appreciate the reality of climate change.

Building a culture of recognition will not only make the future generations conscious of their actions and the consequences of their actions but also create the spirit of innovation in a bid to deal with the effects of climate change. When one looks at the realities of  climate change like the floods in the past few months in Kenya which led to closure of learning institutions, then the importance of incorporating Climate Change in education and training cannot be ignored.

Amongst the strategies that have been proposed over time are to develop strategies and policies for climate education, integration of climate change in school curricula, training and teaching materials for teachers and educators and safe and sustainable school campuses.  Incorporation of climate change to the education system is not about just teaching on climate change but an education system overhaul that begins from the change in policy to including this in the curriculum.

It is also fundamental that learners are made aware of their environment and the everyday activities that could be fundamental in averting the effects of climate change. Kenya has been in the forefront in developing strategies that will incorporate climate change to the curriculum. Through the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) there have been efforts to incorporate climate change in the Kenyan Curriculum