Education is a powerful enabler of climate-change containment

Synopsis: At this critical juncture in the history of humanity, we must now re-imagine education as a tool that can play a transformative role in mitigating climate change. Education can become an active agent in catalysing climate mitigation and adaptation in line with the global agreements.


In the lead up to CoP-26, more countries have been committing themselves to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. This includes using regulation and policy to improve energy efficiency, develop alternative energy sources, reduce overall energy consumption and minimize wastage.

Education, as a tool to further climate change, has still been untapped though.

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How education can play a transformative role wrt climate change?

Promoting universal values: Universal values such as global citizenry and sustainable development must be incorporated into mainstream, foundational and formative years of study. This will help students become self-directed, raise self-awareness, enable a cultural transformation, and change the mind-sets and lifestyles of future global citizens.

This is why young leaders like Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousafzai are inspiring millions of young people around the world to make societies smarter, greener and more inclusive and resilient.

More investment and better quality of expenditure in education to scale up learning, particularly for disadvantaged and marginalized groups including girls and women is the best strategy to support sustainable development. The more well-educated people there are in a country, the better the capacity and agility of that country to prevent or mitigate future hazards.

Education can be more responsive in producing experts, innovators, and leaders with the skills to tackle climate change and other related development challenges. Such challenges include converting waste to energy, increasing food production and minimizing food waste to feed the growing population sustainably, transitioning to clean energy and transport and creating and preparing for green jobs.

How govts and global institutions are striving to impart Climate change education?

There are already good examples of climate change education led by some governments.

Italy: it requires all students to take more than 33 hours of climate change classes each year in higher secondary education.

Philippines; The Department of Education has committed to intensify climate literacy and support climate action in schools.

The Republic of Korea: it has started a project to transform schools into green campuses that will showcase education programs for environmental protection and use eco-friendly energy.

The Paris Agreement: it calls for its signatories to undertake educational and public awareness campaigns on climate change and ensure public participation in programmes to achieve its targets.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB): it launched the Climate Change Fund in 2008 and has since actively pursued ways to mainstream climate change issues in education. The bank is supporting clean energy in several education projects including preparing graduates with green skills.

What more needs to be done?

Developing the climate change education system will require comprehensive cooperation between central and local governments, schools, universities, communities, non-government organizations (NGOs) and the private sector.

This collaboration is critical to develop education policies that will prepare and engage students in sustainable development through science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) projects.

The international community, multinational corporations and international NGOs are equally critical in harmonizing and providing this support.

Source: This post is based on the article “Education is a powerful enabler of climate-change containment” published in Livemint on 19th October 2021.

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