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UAE launches green education program for schools ahead of COP28 in Dubai

The ministry plans to train over 1,400 principals and 2,400 teachers.

UAE launches green education program for schools ahead of COP28 in Dubai
[Source photo: Pankaj Kirdatt/Fast Company Middle East]

The Ministry of Education in Dubai is introducing an educational program to educate the younger generation about the initiatives taken to combat climate change, as the city prepares to host COP28.

The ministry signed agreements with UNESCO and UNICEF to advance climate education and action among the younger generation before, during, and after the conference.

The program includes training 1,400 principals and 2,800 teachers by the ministry to ensure that half of all schools and campuses in the UAE receive “green accreditation.”

During a press conference introducing the program, H.E. Dr. Ahmed Belhoul Al Falasi, the Minister of Education, stated that COP28 would provide a blueprint for utilizing education to attain sustainable development objectives and tackle climate change.

“We have a critical role to play to advance the role of education in addressing climate change by building environment-friendly curricula and schools and training educators to build sustainable green communities,” the minister said.

Dr. Al Falasi emphasized that the conference would serve as a chance to galvanize global endeavors to incorporate eco-friendly education in schools, both in the region and globally.

According to Dr. Amna Al Shamsi, the Assistant Undersecretary for the Care and Building Capacity Sector at MoE, the green education strategy would not be compulsory courses but integrated into the framework of all educational and extracurricular activities.

The initiative will consist of four key components – Greening Schools, Greening Learning, Greening Capabilities, and Greening Communities – each with its objectives.

Through this program, schools and universities will have a blueprint to adopt eco-friendly practices by decreasing their ecological footprint and instilling sustainable habits among students.

Guidebooks for co-curricular activities that emphasize sustainability will be provided by the ministry. These guidebooks will concentrate on cultivating three pillars: knowledge, skills, and values.

The ministry will introduce the Children’s Voice program, through which chosen “Children Champions” in the country will receive training opportunities to partake in decision-making activities related to the environment. Additionally, the ministry will highlight the vital role of educators in spreading awareness about climate change and addressing its consequences through the Educator’s Voice initiative. Both endeavors aim to spotlight over 70 students and educators.

The ministry and UNESCO are collaborating to create a United Nations Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) for Greening Education.

Additionally, the two organizations will work to raise awareness among students regarding the significance of safeguarding the oasis system in the Arab world, which serves as a cultural and natural ecosystem.

Dr. Shamsi noted that the UAE would introduce the first education pavilion at COP28. Set up in collaboration with UNESCO; the pavilion will be an international platform to promote climate education teamwork.

The UAE is set to host the UN COP28 Summit from November 30 to December 12.

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