Climate education remains a ‘peripheral subject’ in Southeast Asia curriculum amid calls to make it compulsory



The lack of government-mandated climate education has opened the door for education entrepreneurs to fill a gap.

The founders of Earth Warriors, a global early childhood education program, noted a lack of climate education content accessible to children under 11.

Keya Lamba and Shweta Bahri have designed materials suitable for ages 3-7, which they hope will be adopted by schools around the world. Their courses have been peer reviewed and supported by climatologists.

“Our whole mission and belief is that if you build these lasting habits at a young age, then being a conscious citizen who cares about the planet is as natural for these children as brushing their teeth,” Lamba said.

“There is a lot of evidence that shows this to be true. It can also push adults around them, ”she said.

“We are trying to show that it is the children who demand and make the changes. Climate change education must be everywhere, at every age group. It is so essential and it is surprising that it is not taken very seriously or urgently. “

They aim to challenge assumptions that learning about climate change is too complex or intimidating for children, and ultimately advocate for governments to include such material themselves.

Based on their research, they say there is no formal inclusion of climate education in Southeast or South Asia. But first they plan to deliberately target schools with higher tuition fees, such as those that use international curricula.

“We made a very conscious decision. Research shows that it is people from higher income backgrounds who contribute much more to climate change than people from low income backgrounds, ”Bahri said.

Children are already highly exposed to the impacts of climate change. The recently released UNICEF Climate Risk Index for Children found that over 99% of children are exposed to at least one major climate and environmental hazard, shock or stress, “creating a human rights crisis. ‘child’.

Climate impacts such as floods, cyclones, water scarcity, disease and air pollution overlap and worsen in many parts of the world. Children in these often poor parts of the world face even greater future risks.

This is yet another reason why experts want to accelerate the ability of young people to contribute to solutions and to feel empowered to tackle these legacy issues.

“It is increasingly recognized that we owe them something, that they have a voice and a seat at the table,” said Rajakumar of Climate Governance Malaysia.

“And there is no quick fix. There is no dashboard, no roadmap, so why not invite the kids to the table too?

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