Education International Manifesto on Quality Climate Change Education for All

published 7 April 2021 updated 14 December 2021

The climate crisis is the greatest threat facing humanity and our planet. With little time left to reverse the current course and keep global temperature rise below +1.5°C, climate action is more urgent than ever.

Education must be transformed to catalyse the fight against climate change and to support a just transition to a more sustainable world.

Students have a right to gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to sustain our world for present and future generations, and they have the right to receive an education which prepares them for the world of work in a green economy. It is time to come together to build something more resilient in our education institutions, our communities, and our economy, while considerably reducing our ecological footprint through a just transition.

Education International, the global voice of educators, hereby calls on every government in the world to deliver on their commitments to climate change education and education for sustainable development in the Paris Agreement (article 12) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (targets 4.7, 12.8 and 13.3). This Manifesto outlines the profession’s vision for quality climate change education and the policy framework necessary to implement it.

1. Governments ensure quality climate change education (CCE) for all.

A. Every country includes CCE as part of their climate promises and commits to a credible timebound plan that is regularly monitored and evaluated.

B. All governments develop, implement, and evaluate CCE policies, in close collaboration with education unions, student organisations, and indigenous groups.

C. Governments increase domestic investment in education, as well-funded, strong public education systems are a prerequisite for promoting quality CCE for all. Systems are further strengthened through overseas development aid, international cooperation, and open access to resources and knowledge.

D. Governments ensure that the impacts of climate change do not prevent children and young people from enjoying their right to quality education.

2. Every student leaves education climate-literate and equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to tackle climate change, adapt to uncertainties, and take part in building a more sustainable future.

A. CCE is integrated into curricula at all levels of education, including early childhood education, technical and vocational education, further and higher education, and adult education.

B. CCE is a compulsory part of the curriculum in primary and secondary education across every school or jurisdiction.

C. As part of a just transition, access to quality technical and vocational education and training, including apprenticeships, and higher education is expanded, equipping students with the skills needed for future careers in a new green economy.

D. Climate change is addressed across all subjects and education institutions are supported to take an interdisciplinary and whole-institution approach to CCE.

E. CCE curricula is gender responsive, takes into account the inequalities experienced by girls and women, and takes an intersectional approach.

3. Quality climate change education is based on science, and addresses the ethical, cultural, political, social and economic dimensions of climate change.

A. CCE is underpinned by accurate information based on scientific evidence and up-to-date research. Governments invest in research and amplify international cooperation on research to support the development and sharing of scientific knowledge on climate change.

B. CCE addresses the unequal contribution of countries towards causing climate change and the unequal impact of climate change today, recognising that the current system is inequitable, and levels of production and consumption are unsustainable. It further recognises that vulnerable populations and groups are most directly affected, including low-income countries, small island states, poor communities, indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, people of colour, women, girls, and children.

C. CCE promotes a multicultural vision and recognises indigenous knowledge.

D. CCE fosters critical thinking and civic engagement. It is transformative and empowers students to consider just and sustainable alternatives, and then take action in their local communities and beyond.

4. Teachers are trained and supported to provide quality climate change education.

A. Governments ensure that teacher training institutions have the funding and resources necessary to deliver quality initial teacher education, and that student teachers are prepared to teach CCE.

B. CCE is included in continuous professional development programmes for teachers and responds to development needs identified by teachers.

C. The professional autonomy and academic freedom of teachers, further and higher education personnel are protected and guaranteed.

D. Governments provide teachers with teaching and learning resources to support them to teach CCE. These resources are up to date, gender-responsive, adapted to local contexts, multicultural and in local languages.

5. Schools and learning environments are transformed, to support quality climate change education.

A. Educational infrastructure is safe and climate resilient.

B. Education providers at all levels prioritise and invest in making education institutions environmentally friendly.

C. Education institutions are energy-efficient and sustainable institutions, in line with the climate-proofing of workplaces carried out by the union labour movement.

D. School leaders, teachers and education support personnel are supported and trained to climate proof their institutions, with the view to a just transition.

E. Students are involved in sustainable practices at education institutions in collaboration with the broader education community.