Speakers at a country exchange workshop on climate change held in Accra have underscored the need to integrate climate change into the country’s educational curricula.
They were of the opinion that teaching climate change in schools would help to propel the required attitude and attitudinal change to boost the national response to climate change.
The workshop was organised by the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) in collaboration with the United Nations Climate Change Learning Programme in Ghana together with other partners.
It was a platform for participating countries, including Uganda, United States of America, Malawi and Switzerland to exchange experiences on integrating climate change in their respective educational systems.
Speakers at the workshop included the Deputy Minister for the MESTI, Mrs Patricia Appiagyei, and the Head of Office and Country Representative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in Ghana, Mr Tirso Dos Santos.
There were other speakers from Uganda, Malawi and Switzerland, agencies of the United Nations, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Ghana Education Service (GES) and some development partners.
Boost national interventions
In her remarks, Mrs Appiagyei said “climate change has become a threat to all sectors of the economy. Ghana has suffered a lot of decline in key sectors such as agriculture, forestry and energy among other resources over the years,” she said.
She submitted that climate change remained a priority of the government and had been recognised under the Ghana Shared Growth and Development Agenda as well as the national climate change policy.
“In addition to its development agenda, Ghana has developed a national climate change and green economy learning strategy with concentration on a capacity building component in the national climate change master plan,” she said.
Mrs Appiagyei said the strategy had 13 national priority learning actions on climate change education, training and public awareness which included inculcating climate change into the educational curricula.
High illiteracy rate a challenge
For his part, Mr Dos Santos attributed the difficulty stakeholders faced in addressing the climate change situation in Ghana and other developing and middle income economies to the high rate of illiteracy.
He recommended that national efforts to improve literacy levels be scaled up as a means of facilitating national development, describing education as a major component of every sustainable and meaningful development agenda.
Mr Dos Santos said although natural resources had been over exploited due to lack of knowledge of consequences of such actions, it was time for all global stakeholders to come together to address the problem, particularly at this time when knowledge on climate change abounded.
Climate change in Ghana
In his presentation, the National Coordinator of the UN Climate Change Learning Programme in Ghana, Dr Emmanuel Tachie Obeng, said climate change in Ghana had led to unpredictable rainfall, rise in temperatures, drought, wind storms, bushfires, rise in sea levels, land degradation, loss of forest cover and loss of biodiversity.
He said due to the impact of climate change on the economy, the UN Climate Change: Learn Programme was putting in place a number of education-focused strategies to support national interventions directed at addressing the phenomenon locally.