For the first time in the history of country, School Education Department of South Punjab has begun teaching climate change to school children as a separate subject.
In terms of raising climate change awareness among the younger generation, Pakistan has lagged far behind many developed countries. Climate change is being taught as a separate subject in public schools in south Punjab for the first time.
Since many parts of Pakistan were hit by devastating floods last August, we’ve been hearing that it was caused by climate change and that our country is one of the worst-affected. However, recent good news about climate change has emerged from south Punjab, which appears to have earned the country a unique honour globally.
For the first time in the history of the country, the School Education Department of South Punjab has begun teaching climate change to school children as a separate subject to create awareness.
The initiative needs to be seen in the context of a recently published report by UNESCO, “Getting every school climate-ready.” The report contains a startling revelation. Climate change was not mentioned at all in nearly half of the national curriculum frameworks reviewed from 100 countries.The rest mentioned the phenomenon, but their mentions were usually very brief.
The report also failed to mention any country where climate change was taught as a separate subject in schools. If it was included at all, it was mostly in subjects like biology, science, and geography.
The South Punjab School Education Department was quick to recognize this missing link and decided to begin formal teaching in order to sensitize our future generations and save them from the perils of climate change.
When contacted, Dr. Ehtasham Anwar, Secretary, School Education Department, South Punjab, stated that the curriculum for the new subject took them more than two years to prepare.
The children’s Green Book, which has been prepared with input from various stakeholders, including subject experts, and covers all topics related to climate change and related matters such as biodiversity, wildlife, forestry, agriculture, horticulture, and more, is the hallmark of imparting education on this subject.
The book has a bright, appealing, and intriguing cover. It is based on the characters of a young girl and a boy and imparts practical knowledge in the form of a story.
It has been introduced at the 7th grade level. It is said that children at this age are neither too old to have formed attitudes nor too young to understand the complexities of climate change.
Among other things, the book raises awareness about Pakistan’s rapidly depleting water resources in general and the River Indus in particular, as well as ways and means to preserve them, in line with the Government of Pakistan’s “Living Indus” project.
Simultaneously, a dedicated website, https://thechildrengreenbook.net/, has been launched to support the book, where, among other things, a digital version is also available for those who are interested.
It has also been reported that the secretary was recently invited to present the book at a session in London presided over by the UK’s Minister of State in the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO), where it drew a lot of attention.
When asked about Pakistan’s Ministry of Climate Change’s response, Dr. Ehtasham Anwar stated that he was attempting to schedule an appointment with ministry officials to make a presentation to them as well.
He clarified that, while the book was launched by the School Education Department of South Punjab, it was written with the entire Pakistan in mind and covered climate change-related issues that could be found anywhere in the country. As a result, it could be easily adopted by other federal units as well as provincial governments.