Education is not giving students sufficient knowledge to adapt, act and respond to climate change and environmental crises, according to a new report published by UNESCO on the eve of the World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development.
The study, Learn for Our Planet, analysed educational plans and curricula frameworks in close to 50 countries across all regions. More than half make no reference to climate change while only 19% speak about biodiversity. The study notes a lack of attention to socio-emotional skills and action-oriented competences that are central to environmental and climate action. In an online survey of some 1,600 teachers and education leaders conducted for the study, one third of respondents indicated that environment-related issues were not part of teacher training.
UNESCO has therefore set a new target: to make environmental education a core curriculum component in all countries by 2025. The organisation is working with its 193 member states to support curriculum reform and track progress to ensure everyone acquires the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to introduce positive change and protect our planet’s future.
The World Conference will bring together some 2,500 participants, including 81 education ministers and leading players committed to the transformation of education so that all learners can address the climate crisis, biodiversity loss and all other sustainable development challenges. It will aim to create strategies for the integration of education for sustainable development into every level of education and training, in line with a new framework.
Over three days, sessions will focus on optimal ways to harness education to address interconnected global challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, green and circular economies, technological advancement and building resilient relationships with the planet through education. It will look at ways to reinforce the capacity of educators, empower youth and take local actions through education for sustainable development.
“Education must prepare learners to understand the current crisis and shape the future. To save our planet, we must transform the way we live, produce, consume and interact with nature. Integrating education for sustainable development into all learning programmes must become fundamental, everywhere.”
Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General