Over the past few months, thousands of teachers across the U.K. have been quietly signing up to become the world's first United Nations Certified Climate Change Teachers. The momentum in Scotland is also building as more and more teachers learn about the new course, and how it can support their climate change teaching. Joanna McFarlane, founder of Wild Planet Explorers – a Scottish based environmental education business – is now determined to take things to the next level.
As one of the first of the Scottish educators to receive the UN certification, Joanna has spent the past few months rallying her fellow Scottish teachers to drive home the message north of the border.
“Scottish citizens are finally starting to wake up to the fact that there's a real climate emergency, and children are learning about the issues surrounding sea level rise, warming and the rest from friends, family or even David Attenborough”, she says. “This new UN Climate Change Teacher course is the perfect tool to help teachers lead the way in explaining the options and solutions youngsters need.”
As well as teaching basic facts about the emergency, each climate change teacher will act as a school ambassador for action. They can also qualify for further accreditation as a Specialist Leader in Education (SLE) or Local Leader of Education (LLE) under the U.K. government's national career development program. In Scotland, it is hoped it will also become a GTCS professional accreditation.
“Our aim is to certify an eduCCate Global, UN accredited, climate change teacher in every school in Scotland as soon as we can,” says Melanie Harwood, chief executive of eduCCate Global, which is running the program, “Not only will it transform the way we talk about the climate emergency in schools, but it will also show what we can achieve when schools, parents and children work together to tackle this global problem.”
In order to qualify as an eduCCate Global, UN accredited climate change teacher, applicants have to register at www.educcateglobal.org, and pass five modules via an online program. So far over 329,000 teachers have signed up, and not just from the U.K. The project is receiving more than 100 applications every day from across the globe.
Dunfermline and West Fife MSP, Shirley-Anne Somerville, is convinced that this is the right program at the right time.
“We are facing a climate emergency and we need to act now. The Scottish Government is showing world class leadership in tackling climate change by setting ambitious targets for reducing emissions. We are determined that Scotland will become a net-zero society by 2045 - five years ahead of the rest of the UK. But we also need to look to the future, and that's where education comes into play. I’m looking forward to working with Joanna to see how the UN program can be promoted across the whole country.”
Betsy King, Development Manager of the Learning for Sustainability Scotland network says “Climate change issues, linked to other aspects of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, are an important part of the broader theme of Learning for Sustainability. This is an entitlement for all of Scotland’s students within Scotland’s curriculum. In turn it is embedded within the General Teaching Council for Scotland’s Professional Standards required of all education practitioners”
The project is funded through private/public partnership and the scheme is now actively seeking additional private sponsors to drive the next phase to completion. Interested parties should contact the organisation on email@example.com. If you are based in Scotland and would like any support to register, find out more or would like to share stories of your current climate change teaching, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
About eduCCate Global
eduCCate Global is a joint partnership with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) to develop and deliver a Climate Change Education Program and UN Accredited Climate Change Teacher to every school worldwide. eduCCate Global launched in April 2018 and is now active in over 11,000 schools worldwide, and more than 11,000 teachers currently in training globally.
Please contact Tim Collins of eduCCate Global at tim@eduCCateGlobal.org for comment, enquires or to arrange an interview about this press release.