UNESCO: 1/3 of Countries Do Not Emphasize Climate Change in Teacher Training

With COP28 just a week away (30 November – 12 December), UNESCO sheds light on a critical issue hindering global climate action: the lack of climate change education in schools.
UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring (GEM) report has conducted a comprehensive study analyzing climate change education across 80 countries: It reveals that 62% of countries lack any national-level laws, policies, and strategies specifically focused on climate change education.

More countries urgently need to make climate change education a priority 

  • 87% of countries have laws, policies, or plans that include teaching climate change in primary and secondary schools.
  • However, 62% of countries still lack national-level laws, policies and strategies specifically focused on climate change education.
  • And 37% of teacher training plans still do not include a focus on climate change.

UNESCO findings also reveal that young people believe they are not receiving adequate climate change education

  • In 2023, 70% of 17,000 young people surveyed by UNESCO expressed concerns about the quality of climate change education.
  • More than 9 in 10 were informed about climate change in school, but 27% could not explain it, 41% could only outline it, and 2% knew nothing about it. 
  • Although 90% believe that schools should prepare for climate change, only 79% thought that schools currently fulfilled that role. 
  • One in five felt unprepared, and 91% wanted more comprehensive climate education, particularly emphasizing practical actions.

Countries are pledging to do more

  • Today 126 countries have committed to addressing climate change and other sustainability issues through education. 
  • At the Transforming Education Summit, 47 countries committed to take action on climate change education
  • Across the 81 members of UNESCO’s Greening Education Partnership:
    1. 60 plan to review their curriculum by 2026 to integrate climate change and biodiversity.
    2. 70 countries plan to train teachers to deliver climate change education.

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The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of The World Financial Review.