The inclusion of Climate Education into Nigeria’s School curriculum, a strategic ambition beyond COP26.
The Dean Initiative and World Largest Lessons, have again stressed their call on Nigeria to make gains in Climate Education by including it in the national school curriculum.
In a statement to mark the National Action Day for Climate Education, the bodies said, “Ahead of the Convention of Parties (COP 26), the continued call for countries to take actionable and sustainable plans to address climate change has been on the rise.
They lamented over recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment report which emphasized the climate change risks that Africa must contend with; despite the fact that Africa contributes less to global carbon emissions.
See full Statement:
“In Nigeria, we are today facing the full realities of the climate change crisis from severe drought and desertification, flooding, and food shortages.
“In a recent report published by the United Nations, Nigeria has been reported as one of the countries where climate change also contributes to armed conflict and insecurity; listing Nigeria as one of the world’s top terror zones.
“Climate change ranks among the most critical dynamics shaping the livelihoods of people around the world now and in the future. This is especially the case in low-income countries with rapid population growth, and hence high concentrations of young people. In Nigeria, young people account for more than 50% of the population and climate change realities threaten this population.
“While we commend the Nigerian government for efforts taken so far to address the climate change crisis through the revised NDC and the youth climate innovation hub; however, climate education is a gap we need to unite and fill. Education globally has been identified as a catalyst for actionable result-oriented change and national development. So, how well has Nigeria explored education as a tool to address these climate challenges?
“Education is the first mechanism mentioned in Article 6 of the Convention (1992) and Article 12 of the Paris Agreement as one of the six areas that should be utilized to engage the public in climate change solutions; The IPCC reports have also supported climate education as a climate response to strengthen societal responses to climate change.
“The world is making gradual progress on climate education as few countries have already made climate education laws. We are so passionate about this because we believe that climate literacy can give people the tools to engage meaningfully with governments and corporations to help solve climate change. Argentina last year drafted a law on environmental education that will make climate education compulsory in all schools. They said the implementation of environmental education will teach the next generation of leaders to love, protect and respect the Earth. Earlier in 2019, Italy announced a requirement for climate change studies in all Italian schools. Also in the USA, New Jersey has adopted Climate Change As Part Of the Core Curriculum In All Public Schools. And New Zealand schools also now teach students about the climate crisis, activism, and ‘eco anxiety’
Will education help combat the climate change crisis?
- The World’s Largest Lesson (UK) together with the DEAN Initiative in Nigeria is working with other partners and currently running a contextualized Climate Changemakers class as an extracurricular exercise in some 35 schools across six (6) states in Nigeria. The classes provide children with teaching and relatable stories on climate change and its impacts. A review of the project’s impact showed improved knowledge about climate change and these children’s genuine passion and commitment. Participating children, through various means, have also called on the government to take proactive steps to integrate climate education into their learning curriculum so as to equip them with the requisite knowledge in acting for the climate.
- No greater tool to change the world than EDUCATION. Students must be made to understand that climate change is not just a threat. It is a reality resulting in social, economic, and environmental instability in a country that is already vulnerable. Our contextualized resources for the classroom include all these issues and possible solutions so that future generations in Nigeria can be climate champions.
- To further raise the momentum for the demand for Climate Education in Nigeria, we have created a range of activities.
- First is the Climate Education Conversation: This project aims to open discussion among critical environmental and education actors on the importance of including Climate and Environmental education into the school curriculum for children in government and private-owned schools. It will be huge progress to see Nigeria make a firm commitment to mainstream climate education into the national curriculum and this will be followed through beyond COP26. If achieved, Nigeria will be one of the first African countries to achieve this landmark feat.
- Secondly, National Action Day for Climate Education. The national action day for climate education is a movement seeking climate education as a right for all. The action day provides the opportunity to catalyze momentum that will simultaneously combat climate change, environmental problems, strengthen the civic health of communities, and increase the capacity of the citizens collectively to demand climate education as an integral part of our school learning.
- Dean Initiative has, over the years, championed social issues that affect young people, children, and other vulnerable groups. We applaud the federal government through the Ministry of Environment for implementing various initiatives in tackling the climate change crisis, as demonstrated in the ambitious plan in the NDC. On this year’s National Action Day for Climate Education, We ask that more urgent and sustainable actions be implemented to solidify ongoing climate interventions by the government and other relevant stakeholders.
Building on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, we hereby submit these FIVE(5) ASKS:
- The Ministries of Education and Environment, to work together to begin the formal process of including climate education in the national school curriculum.
- Environmental/Green clubs are allowed to function across schools, which will be duly regularized.
- The creation and availability of climate-based extracurricular activities to equip students with knowledge on nature, biodiversity, climate change, and environmental stewardship.
- The inclusion of environmental and climate-based literature within the approved reading for students across schools in Nigeria.
- That the 13thof October every year be adopted as theNational Action Day for Climate Education; a day marked across all schools in Nigeria with activities to promote environmental and climate learning.
There is no greater tool to change the world than Education. As Nigeria continues to face the severe impacts of climate change, the country needs its young people to be knowledgeable about and empowered to tackle climate issues, we hope that the National Action Day for Climate Education will ignite this flame.