Secondary school children in the UK and around the world will this week become part of a student-led movement demanding that governments introduce integrated, mandatory, and assessed climate education into national curriculums.
The Teach the Teacher campaign running across 20 countries throughout October sees students from across the globe reverse roles with their teachers and provide lessons with up-to-date climate science which reflects the urgency of the climate crisis.
Despite many governments committing to make climate action and adaptation a national priority, climate education is still barely covered in the school curriculum. The lack of information and solution-based learning is causing escalating levels of anxiety for young people.
Last week, the largest study ever conducted into the effects of the climate crisis on the mental health of young people revealed nearly half of young people globally feel climate anxiety negatively affects their daily life.
It also found that almost two-thirds of young people around the world believe governments are not doing enough to protect them from climate change.
The Teach the Teacher campaign was created by an international group of student organisers from Mock COP and SOS-UK and seeks to tackle inadequate levels of climate education globally and is urging governments to act on the issue as world leaders convene in Glasgow, UK, for COP26.
As well as reflecting the urgency of the climate crisis, students from the Teach the Teacher campaign are demanding that curriculums focus on climate related solutions, to help mitigate rising levels of eco-anxiety in young people.
Aishwarya Puttur, from Teach the Teacher, said: “Education for all is a human right, and education about a crisis that is currently upon us and will affect each and every one of us is also a right. Climate change education should no longer be a privilege but rather something that is available to all.
“It must be one that includes the intersections of the climate crisis, states scientific facts as it is, has frontline defenders and marginalised people’s voices heard and explains how we can make sustainable changes and take action.”
Supported by the Teach the Teacher global network, students will take on the role of the teacher and present a lesson which has been tabled into the school week.
Classes will focus on issues including climate education, climate justice and how to start a climate conversation in the classroom.
Schools across 21 countries will take part, including those particularly at risk from the damaging effects of climate change such as Bangladesh, India and Ecuador.
The campaign has received support from a range of global political figures including Lorenzo Fioramonti, former Italian Minister of Public Education and Jimmy Uguro, Minister for Education, Papua New Guinea.