Commonwealth of Learning proposes to add climate change to school curricula at Seychelles meeting
Minister Valentin said that "we want children to understand what climate change is from an early age." (Seychelles News Agency)
Representatives from four regions of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) - an intergovernmental educational organisation of the Commonwealth - attended a meeting in Seychelles to finalise a report which will serve as a blueprint to include climate change as a lesson in their respective schools' curricula.
The meeting at the Savoy Hotel on Tuesday is the first consultation with representatives from the Caribbean, Asia, Africa and the Pacific.
"We want children to understand what climate change is from an early age. We believe that once they are taught from an early age, children will be able to react and help find solutions to the problems," Seychelles' Education Minister Justin Valentin told reporters.
Meanwhile, the President and CEO of the Commonwealth of Learning, Professor Asha Kanwar, said that "the education sector globally has over 1 billion children going to school every day, and if all these children could become champions for conservation, the whole world will change."
Representatives from Eswatini, Guyana, Maldives as well as Trinidad and Tobago are participating in the high-level meeting in Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.
|The meeting at the Savoy Hotel on Tuesday is the first consultation with representatives from the Caribbean, Asia, Africa and the Pacific. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY|
Kanwar said that the meeting is taking place in Seychelles because the island nation "is really at the forefront with climate change."
Furthermore, Seychelles has committed 30 percent of the 1.4 million square kilometres of its waters to marine protection and 47 percent of its land as nature reserves.
"We are going to discuss some kind of climate literacy curriculum when we go to the Blue Economy Institute [at the University of Seychelles]," said Kanwar.
After the meeting in Seychelles, a draft will be drawn up and this will be followed by a consultation with the people of the Commonwealth to find what best suits their needs.
"Then we will develop that course that they can take elements of and integrate it into their existing curriculum and customise it according to the local context. What we are doing is integrating sustainability into all our work," she added.
There are several ministers attending the panel meeting and Kanwar said "If they endorse the report, then we can go with confidence to write up the final report and dispatch it to all ministers of education in the 54 member countries."
In addition to the blueprints being set out with the high-level panel, the COL also has a lifelong learning for farmers project currently running in 11 countries and a green teacher programme in India and Nigeria.
"We are teaching teachers to inculcate environmental concerns in the classrooms with the children," she said.
The COL also runs online courses on the subject of the Blue Economy in collaboration with the Blue Economy Research Institute at the University of Seychelles, which is available free of charge to users worldwide.
Meanwhile, as part of their visit to Seychelles, the delegates also paid a courtesy call on President Wavel Ramkalawan at the State House on Monday afternoon and will visit the James Michel Foundation on Tuesday.