Climate change to form part of school curricula in SEA

- Rudy A. Fernandez () - December 25, 2011 - 12:00am

LOS BAÑ0S, Laguna, Philippines  –All is not for the integration of environmental issues, notably climate change, in the school curricula in Southeast Asian countries.

Spearheading the program is the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO), an inter-government body founded in 1965 to foster cooperation among Southeast Asian nations in the fields of education, science, and culture.

Along this line, a teachers’ guidebook titled “Integrating Climate Change Issues in Southeast Asian Schools: A Teachers’ Guidebook” has been published.

The SEAMEO Council (SEAMEC), the organization’s highest policymaking body composed of the education ministers of the 11 SEAMEO (Southeast Asian) countries, had earlier approved of the program, asserting thus:

“The issue of global warming is alarming and the impact of climate change is catastrophic if nothing is done to curtail its effects. Very soon, the young of today are most likely to experience the effect of climate change much more than we do at present, and subsequently they will be forced to address the issue.”

SEAMEC further stressed: “It is important that we familiarize the youths with scientific coping mechanisms as what we know today so that they become aware of the causes of climate change and understanding what they can do to mitigate it.”

The guidebook will be shared with all the

Ministries of the SEAMEO nations (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam) and associate members (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand), the Netherlands, and Spain).

Education Secretary Armin Luistro represents the Philippines in the SEAMEO Council.

The 350-page teachers’ guidebook on integrating climate change issues in school offerings in Southeast Asia was the product of the collective efforts of eight regional “centers of excellence (COE)’” of SEAMEO over the past few years.

Of the eight centers, three are hosted by the Philippine government.

These are the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) headed by Director Gil C. Saguiguit Jr. based in the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) here; Tropical Medicine (TROPMED)-Philippines based in the UP Manila-College of Public Health headed by Dean Nina Gloriani; and Regional Center for Educational Innovation and Technology (INNOTECH) headed by Director Ramon Bacani based in Diliman, Quezon City.

The Malaysia-based SEAMEO Regional Center for Education in Science and Mathematics (RECSAM) led the experts in piecing together the teachers’ guidebook.

The publication is intended for use by teachers, educators, curriculum innovators, and instructional administrators responsible for connecting academic concepts with climate change issues in their respective schools and communities in Southeast Asian countries.

It provides basic information on the causes of global warming that triggers climate change. It also presents exemplars using climate change issues and other environment-oriented or eco-friendly activities as learning context.

Moreover, it describes strategies to integrate climate change issues and adaptation concepts in classroom teaching as well as how to assess the effectiveness of such an integrated learning system.

Date Dr. Ahamad bin Sipon, director of the Bangkok (Thailand)-based SEAMEO Secretariat (SEAMES), said the guidebook, which covers related climate change concerns such as poverty, health and nutrition, and food security, would be particularly helpful to assist teachers to prepare the young generation in experiencing and dealing with the effects of climate change.

He added: “For greater impact, it is our hope that this guidebook will be used extensively in schools in the region to enhance teachers’ competencies to create effective learning experiences for the young people not only on the issues and impact of climate change but also on how these should be addressed.”

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