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Climate change education

CCCPIR’s component on climate change education started in 2011 and aims at strengthening the capacities of education ministries, training institutions, schools and teachers to develop and deliver education on climate change adaptation and mitigation. It is being implemented in close collaboration with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), the University of the South Pacific (USP), Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu.

The overall goal of CCCPIR climate change education is to:

  • increase levels of knowledge on the cause and local impacts of climate change;
  • increase international and regional efforts to deal with climate change;
  • build capacity for local adaptation and mitigation measures in Pacific Island countries (PICs).

Thus, it focuses specifically on:

  • ensuring that relevant aspects of climate change are included in formal and non-formal education in PICs at all levels;
  • enhancing opportunities to increase knowledge and understanding of climate change in a coordinated manner through the non-formal sector;
  • building service providers’ capacities to deliver accurate information, integrate local content, and promote critical thinking about climate change;
    increasing individual capacities to take action on mitigation and adaptation.

During a regional planning workshop in 2011, areas of intervention were identified by representatives of the ministries of education, teacher training institutions, and technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions in all five pilot countries.

The implementation is being guided by the countries with support from CCCPIR.

Background information
Many climate change programmes have been implemented by various regional and national stakeholders over the years. These have generated knowledge, experience and best practices on local climate change impacts, on local options for adaptation and mitigation, and on awareness-raising.

Now is the time to start making this knowledge available to the general public, particularly to children that will experience the increasing effects of climate change in the decades to come. Education can and should play an active role in bolstering people`s ability and stimulating the next generation to demand, generate, interpret and apply information on current and future climate so that they can cope with the challenges of global warming. To ensure relevance and effective learning, the delivery of knowledge on climate change should be oriented towards local contexts and experiences and should prioritise traditional knowledge.

Therefore, national education ministries and local/regional experts on climate change should take the lead in incorporating global and local climate knowledge into national formal and non-formal educational systems (including TVET). CCCPIR’s education and climate change component is supporting the Pacific Islands Framework for Action on Climate Change (PIFACC) principle 4 on education, training and awareness. It promotes the adaptation capacity of significant parts of the population through the spread of applicable adaptation knowledge. Thus, it supports the implementation of PIFACC and the Pacific Education Development Framework (PEDF) – and accordingly the Pacific Education for Sustainable Development Framework (PESDF) from 2006.

[learn_more caption="Fiji"]

Fiji’s Education Sector Strategic Plan 2012–2014 aims to provide a holistic and empowering education system that enables all children to realise and appreciate fully their inheritance and potential, thereby contributing to peaceful and sustainable national development. In the current curriculum prescriptions, elements of climate change are addressed in basic science (forms 3 and 4), biology (forms 6 and 7), physics (forms 6 and 7) and geography (forms 6 and 7) in secondary education. In TVET, environmental changes are addressed in agricultural science (forms 3 to 7). However, in September 2011, the Fiji Ministry of Education, National Heritage, Culture and Arts identified the need to strengthen existing learning outcomes and education materials, and conduct national consultations to ensure that learning is sufficient to adequately increase students’ capacities to deal with climate change impacts and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Achievements to date

  • In 2012 the Fiji Ministry of Education endorsed a strategy to implement Objective 4 of the 2012 Fiji National Climate Change Policy covering training and education, and prior work plans aimed at integrating climate change in school curricula, tertiary courses, and vocational, non-formal education and training programmes (including special education schools). The Curriculum Development Unit began chairing a new national sub-working group on climate change training and education under the Climate Change Unit, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Through a series of workshops, curriculum development officers strengthened and integrated relevant content and learning outcomes on climate change and disaster risk management into basic and social science, geography, agriculture, industrial arts and home economics curricula. The key concepts will be introduced in classes 7 and 8.
  • Based on a stocktake of existing and utilised teaching and awareness resources, the children's story book Pou and Miri learn to tackle climate change was identified as a useful teaching resource and 10,000 English and 5,000 Vosa Vaka Viti copies of it were handed over to the ministry to distribute to all Fijian primary schools (in English and Vosa Vaka Viti).
  • The I-Taukei glossary of climate change terms Vosaqali ni Draki Veisau was handed over to the Ministry of Education.
  • An environmental alphabet poster showing native animals and plants was developed with the Ministry of Education and NatureFiji – Mareqeti Viti – for all primary school children.

Activities in 2013

  • National consultation on the climate change and disaster risk elements in the new curriculum
  • Provision of existing education and awareness materials relating to climate change and disaster risk management of various agencies on the national climate change web-portal
  • Integration of new climate change and disaster risk management curriculum elements into the national teacher pre- and in-service training
  • Training of lecturers and teachers on the use of the picture-based outreach resource on climate change Learning about climate change the Pacific way


[learn_more caption="Kiribati"]

Kiribati is currently reviewing its curriculum and teacher education programmes under the Kiribati Education Improvement Programme (KEIP). The Kiribati National Curriculum and Assessment Framework is working towards its vision to 'nurture [I-Kiribati] children and young people to become wise and worthwhile citizens able to adapt to, and participate in, their changing world'. In Nadi, September 2011 and Tarawa, April 2012, the Kiribati Ministry of Education, the Kiribati Teachers' College and the Kiribati Institute of Technology identified the need to include relevant aspects and basic concepts of climate change and disaster risk management in the new curriculum from Year 1 up to senior secondary level in teacher training and TVET. Ultimately, capacities and skills of students to take action on emissions mitigation, adaptation, risk reduction and coping strategies during and after disasters will be strengthened.

CCCPIR is supporting the achievement of these objectives jointly with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and SPREP, aligned to the Kiribati Education Improvement Programme.

Achievements to date

  • A national action plan dealing with education on climate change and disaster risk management (supported jointly by UNESCO and SPREP) was reflected and further developed in the draft Kiribati Joint Implementation Plan (KJIP).
  • Relevant foundations for a later understanding of climate change and disaster risk management concepts were integrated and strengthened in the syllabus of years 1 to 4 in the subjects ‘Me and My Community’ (April 2012), ‘Kiribati Community Studies’ and ‘Environmental Science’ (April 2013), based on broad national consultations (jointly with SPREP, UNESCO and Scientific Educational Resources and Experience Associated with the Deployment of Argo profiling floats in the South Pacific Ocean: SEREAD).
  • South-South exchange were held with educators from Vanuatu on scoping, sequencing and teaching climate change and disaster risk management (Dec 2012).
  • Te-Kiribati translation and re-printing of the SPREP/AusAID children's story book Children take action was completed and a poster on mammals in the oceans was developed for all primary schools in Kiribati.
  • The first KTC training workshop on teaching the science of climate change was held (Dec 2012, with UNESCO, SPREP and SEREAD).
  • Competencies on climate change and disaster risk management were identified with and for the Maritime Training Centre (MTC), the Fisheries Training Centre (FTC), KIT and the School of Nurses based on national consultations (Sep 2012). KIT, out of its own initiative, integrated the new competencies across its introductory training programme and had a special climate change event, when students conducted oratory contests and presented poems, debates and drama (April 2013)
  • A National Sandwatch Day and Beach Clean-up was supported on South Tarawa (Sep 2012).

Activities in 2013

  • Integration and/or strengthening of relevant climate change and disaster risk management aspects in the syllabus for classes 5 and 6
  • Development and provision of a poster on coral reef fish for primary schools
  • Training of KTC and KIT lecturers and teachers on the use of the picture-based outreach toolkit on climate change
  • Training-of-trainers on community-based climate change and disaster risk management with KIT lecturers and interested partners (provided jointly with the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development, University of the South Pacific)


[learn_more caption="Samoa"]

The Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture (MESC), Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the National University of Samoa (NUS) and the University of the South Pacific (USP) made a commitment to promote education on climate change and to establish the active participation of key stakeholders.

Achievements to date

  • The Climate Change National Steering Committee endorsed a national climate change education working group and its action plan.
  • A concept note was developed for a stocktake of existing and utilised education and awareness resources on climate change across agencies in Samoa.
  • A new picture-based climate change resource targeting classes 7 and 8 was presented and trialed.

Activities in 2013

SPC/GIZ CCCPIR will support in- and pre-service training of teachers based on the new picture-based teaching resource Learning about climate change the Pacific way.


[learn_more caption="Tonga"]

During the ongoing curriculum review, the Ministry of Education and Training strengthened learning about climate change in the primary school syllabus.

To implement and better steer climate change programmes that are related to education, a new national Working Group on Education on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management was established in September 2012. The strategic objective of this group is to provide leadership, guidance and oversight on matters concerning education on climate change and disaster risk management.

This group is under the national climate change governance structure, but is chaired by the Ministry of Educations’ Curriculum Development Unit. The group has an endorsed work plan, which is being supported by different partners such as SPC/GIZ CCCPIR, AusAID, Plan International and UNDP.

Since its foundation, the working group has been meeting on a regular basis to guide the implementation of various climate change projects.

Achievements to date

  • A project: Climate Change Warriors: Secondary Students Analyse Impacts and Take Action, was rolled out, supported by the SPC /Australian Multi-Country Climate Change Adaptation Program.
  • The children’s story book Pou and Miri learn to tackle climate change was translated into Tongan.
  • Lecturers at the Tonga Institute of Education and curriculum officers from the Ministry of Education identified key messages and will work on strengthening their respective curricula (this with support from the Institute of Education/USP under SPC Australian funding).
  • A sub-working group on education on climate change and DRM under MECC was endorsed in 2012.


[learn_more caption="Vanuatu"]

As part of their curriculum review process, the Ministry of Education is strengthening foundations and basic concepts of climate change and disaster risk management across different subjects and years. Integration into national teacher training programmes has commenced.

Achievements to date

  • Climate change and disaster risk management was incorporated into the Vanuatu National Curriculum Statement, the syllabus and assessment standards.
  • Various stakeholders, such as the Meteorology office, the Departments of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and a tourism company, gave presentations to education stakeholders about the causes and effects of climate change in Vanuautu.
  • Training for primary and secondary school teachers on how to improve science skills (including climate change) among students was held.
  • Plays and films were developed to promote environmental awareness, environmental conservation and awareness of climate change in schools.
  • The Vanuatu National Training Council (VNTC), included competencies on climate change and disaster risk management in their qualifications framework.
  • The Ministry of Education identified the children’s book Pou and Miri learn to tackle climate change as a useful literacy and climate change resource. French and English copies will be disseminated to area schools and kindergartens.