The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) has called upon African governments to fast-track integration of climate change into their education systems.
In a statement released on the International Day of Education, Mithika Mwenda, the Executive Director, PACJA said education is a critical agent that could help the society address climate emergency Africa faces today.
He said that it is through education that the Article 6 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that seeks to reduce the impact of climate change by enabling society to be a part of the solution could be achieved.
The Intergovernmental panel on climate change last August released a report that reaffirmed the precarious position Africa is in on matters of global warming. According to the report, African countries are already struggling to adapt to the reality of a changing climate.
A number of National Climate Change Action plans and countries Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) call for the integration of climate change in the education system, emphasizing on integration in existing curriculum for the understanding of the various aspects on climate change.
“Yet, action towards mainstreaming climate change into the education are still moving at slow pace,” said Dr Mithika.
He added that formal and informal education systems provide the unique ways through which African societies can transfer knowledge and skills of the current crop of experts and indigenous knowledge needed to combat climate change effectively at all levels of learnAfrican govts urged to integrate climate change into education curricula ing in the formal primary, secondary, tertiary, and adult education; and other professional development levels as well as informally.
Mithika noted that as Africa’s’ largest coalition of civil societies clamoring for climate justice, PACJA is not oblivious of ensuring that the generation to come is empowered with information and knowledge to tackle climate change whose solution may not be in the foreseeable future.
He challenged curriculum developers and implementers to rise up to the occasion to coordinate efforts towards having climate change in the education curricula.
According to the Kenya government which has been having plans of mainstreaming climate change into its education curriculum, the education system has lagged behind in imparting skills, attitudes, values and behaviors necessary for climate action at individual or society wide levels.
Yet, countries such as Kenya, Zimbabwe among others have high literacy levels that could have facilitated the integration easily.
However, Mithika noted with satisfaction moves by universities in Africa which are fully integrating climate change.
For example, said Mithika, the PACJA has entered into partnership with Kenyatta University Kenya to initiate the Nairobi Summer School on Climate Justice. “Plans are afoot to extend this partnership to other universities around Africa as well,” he said.
The International Day of Education is celebrated every 24th of January to recognize all the education efforts going on in the world and most especially in Africa where we have not achieved targets set for sustainable development goals in Education.
This year’s theme as provided by UNESCO: Changing course, Transforming Education. The purpose of the theme is to ensure that the revival of the education sector and to strengthen it in the context. 2020 hit the entire world by storm and disrupted among many activities, education was hit hard.