July 15, 2024


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COP 27: Pilot programme to bring climate change courses to African universities

The programme will be first rolled out at 15 universities on the continent with the expectation that the courses will equip undergraduates to champion climate action.

Steve Umidha, bird story agency

An educational programme set to launch in 2023 will give university students across the African continent a chance to learn more about climate change and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), so they can “become ambassadors for the change process”.

GAIA Education, an international NGO, is readying the concept for launch early in 2023 through a pilot programme involving 15 of Africa’s leading universities.

It has roped in top academics from the continent through a partnership with the Association of African Universities, headquartered in Ghana, the SDG Centre for Africa based in Rwanda and the All-African Students’ Union.

Tim Clarke, GAIA Education Director, explained: “We are trying to get an African programme so that every African student can have a free online education programme on climate change and SDGs, so in a way, these students can become ambassadors for the change process.”

Short courses will be offered digitally. They will focus on subjects like renewable energy, water management, and other topics related to climate change.

Clark said the aim was to integrate scientific concepts with the most current data available on climatic systems so students could see how the world’s climate is shifting.

About 100 undergraduate students from the pilot universities will participate in the first phase.

The UN has called for climate education to become compulsory in universities and tertiary institutions so that graduates can cope with the changing physical environment. It also wants climate change-related subjects to be introduced into school curricula.

Several African countries, including Kenya and Zimbabwe, have already stepped up. In August, Kenya launched a climate change curriculum in partnership with governments from counties hardest hit by the region’s drought.

The County Climate Change Fund Curriculum was developed by the Kenya Meteorological Department, the Climate Change Directorate, the National Treasury, the Council of Governors, the National Drought Management Authority and civil society organisations.

It is designed to offer knowledge to climate change practitioners to understand devolved climate finance by pushing for community-led adaptation measures.

In Zimbabwe, experts from the country’s ministry of higher and tertiary education, innovation, science and technology development have tabled a proposal that will see climate change offered as a subject and horizontally introduced in all subjects at teacher training in universities and colleges. This is in collaboration with the UN’s Climate Change Learning Partnership.

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