South Africa: More work needs to be done on climate education – AllAfrica – Top Africa News | Team Cansler

Faced with the imminent threat of climate change, South Africa has laid the groundwork to enable climate education in schools, but areas for improvement have been identified.

“Climate education in South Africa has many structures. The Department of Basic Education and its partners have done a tremendous job of laying the groundwork for climate education in South Africa,” Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) Program and Project Director Cindy-Lee Cloete said on Friday.

She spoke in a webinar about children’s involvement in climate action.

Cloete said some of the areas for improvement identified include the need to change the approach to education.

“If we want to fully immerse ourselves in campaigning and fighting for our communities against the effects of climate change, we need to take a different approach to education.

“We need to look at how we bring the voices of children and young people into spaces that are not related to tokenism and engage them in meaningful ways so that their voices are heard,” Cloete said.

She applauded the Southern African Development Community (SADC) for the recent launch of the Strategic Framework for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), which includes environmental education.

SADC – which includes Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe – has agreed to Framework to integrate into the education of school children.

Cloete said the country’s education should address advocacy and action, as these areas will matter to youth in the transition to a just and sustainable world.

According to data from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), only 53% of countries had climate change education in their national curricula and 70% of learners could not explain climate change.

According to UNESCO, part of the problem is that schooling worldwide is done through passive knowledge transfer.

However, Cloete said, education must “employ active methods that generate advocacy and agency.”

“For climate education to be effective in the country, we need to look at how we [develop] Ability to act and empathy on the learning path, especially through climate education.

“We also need to look at environmental justice, social justice and economic justice as priorities for climate education and inclusion.

“Nobody has to be left behind. Climate education must be a lifelong journey from children in early childhood development centers (ECDs) to the elderly. We need to engage them to protect the ecosystem,” Cloete said.

WESSA works with around 700 schools in South Africa to spread climate change messages both inside and outside the classroom.

“We want to create a movement of people who care about themselves and the earth, and we’re doing that through citizen action that includes messages and campaigns,” Cloete said.

Likho Bottoman, director of the Department of Basic Education for Social Cohesion and Educational Equity, said climate change issues have been addressed in the curriculum, although the department has received criticism of teacher development as teachers are not adequately prepared in some cases.

“Sometimes teachers do not have teaching tools and gaps in content have been identified as teachers do not have teaching tools to convey the content to learners.

“We have now developed life guidance textbooks that have a section on climate change and we hope that by the year 2023 these textbooks will be ready for schools to use.

“Going forward, as a department, we need to look at ways to support the curriculum, such as: B. developing manuals or written lesson plans aligned with the Life Orientation textbook and the National Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) document,” Bottoman said.