Italy Introduces Climate Change Lessons in School while CBSE removes Environmental Topics from Curriculum

Italian Government’s Education Minister has recently announced that climate change will be a compulsory part of the curriculum and the students will be taught other subjects as well from the sustainability perspective. However, India’s Central Education Board has removed two chapters of environmental studies from a student’s curriculum. This comes in between the largest movement to fight against the climate change ‘Friday for Future” lead by a 16-year-old school going kid, Greta Thunberg.

Climate Change is one of the biggest and most severe problems that is being experienced around the globe. With the increasing pollution and excessive emissions of greenhouse gases, global warming and climate change factors have already started to show their bad sides to the world. For human beings, as a generation, it is critical to understand the severity and consequences that follow and to start preparing our future generations to fight the situation, while simultaneously attempting to curb it.

In the first, Italy becomes the first country in the world to add climate change education to their curriculum. Italy’s Education Minister Lorenzo Fioramonti recently tweeted that his country will be the first around the world to mandate studying of sustainability & climate change in the school’s education.

As told by the minster, students from first grade through high school will have to take a lesson on climate change. There will be a total of 33 hour time dedicated to imparting CC education, which is around 1 hour per school week. From the next session, starting in September 2020, it will be mandatory for all students to study climate change and sustainability.

Apart from allocating a separate syllabus and a time duration for Climate Change & Sustainability, the government has also aimed to educate students with the traditional subjects in such as geography, mathematics and physics from a perspective of sustainable development.

“The entire ministry is being changed to make sustainability and climate the centre of the education model,” Fioramonti told news agency Reuters.

Reuter, who first reported the news, quoted Fioramonti saying, “I want to make the Italian education system the first education system that puts the environment and society at the core of everything we learn in school.”

Also, the students will be excused from classes, every Friday to let them participate in “Fridays for Future” climate change protests. The minister’s commitment to promoting climate change action amongst the children can be seen. 

Initiated by a 16-year-old Swedish Girl Greta Thunberg in August 2018, Friday for Future is a global movement/protest to fight climate change. She dropped her school every Friday and sat in front of the Swedish Parliament to ask the government to climate action. She posted it on Instagram and twitter and soon it went viral, and in only a few weeks, it became a global movement.

As told by Vincenzo Cramarossa, Fioramonti’s spokesman to CNN, “The climate change lessons will form, part of civics classes which will have an “environmentalist footprint” from September 2020.”

However, while one country is making efforts to preparing a future generation which will be eligible enough to take counter climate change action, one of the biggest contributors to the world pollution, India has some other opinions.

Recent news has surfaced that India’s CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) has removed a total of 5 chapters from the social science syllabus of class 10th students, excusing the lengthy curriculum. Of these 5 chapters, 2 chapters belonged to environmental studies namely; ‘Forest &Wildlife’ and ‘Water Resources’ while other 3 chapters belonged to political topics including ‘Challenges to Democracy’, ‘Democracy and Diversity’ & ‘Political Struggles and Movements’.

As per the explanation provided by the official sources, the amendment has been made as a part of a curriculum rationalisation exercise undertaken by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) to reduce the burden of the curriculum on students.

While India is one of the major contributors to global pollution, our central education finds it befitting to reduce the curriculum of the students by removing environment-related topics. It is critical to understand that 11 out top 15 & 15 out top 20 most polluted cities, including the most polluted city on this planet, are homed by India.

The current scenario of rising pollution in the national capital territory is the indications that other Indian cities shall stay prepared for the disaster that lies ahead.

Education is the primary source of learning for the students and even though we have been teaching the significance of nature and environment in human life in schools, we have neglected the crucial need to take any action in direction of protecting it from ourselves.

Author: Keshav Kothari

A young CA Aspirant who is a writer and a photographer with the zeal to convey a positive perception through his work.

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