Climate change education – why, when, who, how?

Climate change education – why, when, who, how?



Education is one of the key answers that will help reduce and prevent harm. Quality education is a basic human right and a foundation of social-economic development.

WHY is climate change education needed?

Within the presentation of the report on the inclusion of climate change in the education system in our country, some of the reasons were stated[1]:

  • Last decade (2010-2019) is confirmed as the warmest on record,
  • Levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere have reached record numbers in 2019, caused by the excessive use of fossil fuels and deforestation,
  • Sea level is expected to rise by 0.5-1.5 m (by the end of the XXI century),
  • It is estimated that 100.000.000 people will pass into the category of poor by 2030,
  • People (and their greed for bigger profit) are the main cause of climate and environmental catastrophe.

Education is one of the key answers that will help reduce and prevent harm. It is generally accepted that quality education is a basic human right and a foundation of social-economic development. In order for each individual, especially young people, to cope with the global challenges (including the consequences of climate change and the implementation of green technologies), it is necessary for them to have the appropriate knowledge, attitude, skills and competences, that correspond to the contemporary requirements of their personal and professional life. Therefore, in order to enable people to develop such competences that throughout life, with proper upgrading, will guarantee them good job and decent life, it becomes necessary for education and training systems to be reformed and adapted to the requirements of the knowledge-based economy.

Climate change education (CCE) clarifies the climate change and helps students, and all members in the educational process, to understand the causes and consequences of them. Meanwhile, they are getting prepared to live a life with the effects of climate change and are getting encouraged to take appropriate measures in order to have a more sustainable lifestyle. Mostly, this type of education is divided into two parts: climate change education for mitigation and climate change education for adaptation to the consequences of the climate change.

WHEN is climate change education needed?

The answer to this question is very simple. YESTERDAY. However yesterday is gone and we did very little about it, so the answer is TODAY and IMMEDIATELY. Because TOMORROW will be late…

Lately-since December 2020 until now, February 2021-the new conception of primary education has been intensively debated. I believe that this moment has to be used for climate change education to be significantly more prevalent in formal education.

That’s why we support the desire for radical reforms in the Macedonian education system, which is “responsible” for the future of numerous generations of young people in our country. The improving processes, in addition to the development of core competences (digital, entrepreneurial, life, language, etc. in line with the EU recommendations for key competences for lifelong learning[2]),  should also address the increase of “climate literacy” and “supply” of young people with “green” competences.

So, climate change education is needed IMMEDIATELY.

This article will be continued on 16th February 2021, providing the answers to the questions HOW and WHO.

Prof. Dr. Radmil Polenakovikj

Professor at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, UKIM, Skopje. Participated in the implementation of over 100 projects (as a team leader in over 50) funded by various EU programs, domestic ministries, agencies and municipalities, etc. He was a team leader of the National Strategy for Entrepreneurial Learning 2014-2020, Cluster Strategy 2018-2025, Regional Innovation Strategies for Planning Regions, etc. He has published over 310 papers, reports, presentations, etc., of which more than 10 textbooks and manuals for primary, secondary and higher education. In 2006 he founded the Business Start-up Center of UKIM, and in 2009 the National Center for Development of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Learning, within more than 60 start-up companies were established.

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