Ghana’s climate change strategy attracts world attention

BY: Emmanuel Bonney
Dr Emmanuel Tachie-Obeng Deputy Director, EPA
Dr Emmanuel Tachie-Obeng Deputy Director, EPA

The strategy Ghana used to introduce climate change into the basic school curricula has attracted the attention of a number of countries that participated in the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, recently.

Consequently, those countries, including the United States of America, Japan, Tajikistan, Kenya, Nigeria and Niger have approached Ghana to learn from the strategy.

The Deputy Director of the Climate Change Unit at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Dr Emmanuel Tachie-Obeng, made this known in an interview with the Daily Graphic on the sidelines of the climate change conference in Glasgow.

"The USA contacted us to show them how we would be able to implement our learning strategy. So the entire globe is looking at what Ghana has done.

We have prepared our learning strategy and we have been able to start implementation," he said.

Basic schools

Currently, Ghana has been able to introduce climate change into its educational system at the primary and the junior high school levels. This was done during the 2019-2020 academic year.

It hopes to extend the programme to the senior high school and the colleges of education levels.

There are also teaching and learning materials to assist teachers to teach children climate change issues.

According to Dr Obeng, the move was an early life intervention for children, so that they would become climate change conscious to be able to help solve the problems with the issue.

"We did an evaluation and one of the schoolchildren told us that he went home and the things we told him not to do were what his parents were doing — having their house close to the river.

So he threatened not to go to school if his parents did not leave that place because of rising water levels," he said.

Japan

"I have been to Japan to educate them on climate change learning because I was an ambassador going round the world to do that.

So when it comes to climate change education, training and public awareness, Ghana has taken the lead," he emphasised.

He said there was the need for institutions to support organisations at the forefront of climate change to enable them to do more for the country.

Teacher training

Dr Obeng said although there had been regular training for teachers on climate change, the plan was to have a model in the programmes of the colleges of education on the subject, "so that the students will come out as climate change experts to teach students on climate change",

"The teacher training institutions will also be integrated, so that before the teachers come out, they will be aware of climate change," he said, adding that the integration depended on how funds would be provided.

With regard to senior high schools, he said the integration would be next year, after building the capacities of the various subject area panels.

Training

"We have to train the subject area panels.

Climate change affects them at their local levels, but they need to understand what is happening globally and nationally, some of our policies, what we want to do, climate actions, among others, so that they can implement them," he said.