UAE gets first climate change teacher


Candice Wright and Matthew Tompkins.- Supplied photo
Candice Wright and Matthew Tompkins.- Supplied photo

Dubai - After completing five intense modules and passing three exams, she has become a UN-certified climate change teacher.

By Sarwat Nasir

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Published: Tue 18 Jun 2019, 6:00 PM

Last updated: Wed 19 Jun 2019, 9:00 PM

The UAE has gotten its first climate change teacher, who has been accredited by the United Nations through its UN Climate Change Teacher Academy.
Candice Wright, a British teacher at GEMS FirstPoint School - The Villa, received her accreditation last month. After completing five intense modules and passing three exams, she has become a UN-certified climate change teacher.
The UN launched a trial version of its climate change teacher academy in the UK this year, and the course was made available to teachers around the world. It was free for all primary and secondary teachers.
The aim of the programme is to ensure that educators are given the right knowledge and tools before implementing climate change education into a school's curriculum.
"The structure of the course provided me with a solid foundation to move the teaching of climate change forward in my school. My understanding of both climate change and the UN's vision have been immensely enhanced by the course and I now feel even more able to prepare our students to navigate a world affected by climate change," Wright told Khaleej Times. She is the head of humanities at her school and the GEMS Geography Network Leader.
"Moving forward at GEMS FirstPoint, students will be taught specific units on climate change, focusing on understanding, adaptation and mitigation. Students will be taught why climate change is occurring; who is most susceptible to its effects; and what are the tools needed to adapt and build resilience against it.
"Furthermore, the course has enabled me to blend and support the curriculum with the UAE Vision 2021 National Agenda on sustainable environment and infrastructure."
The focus on climate change has increased significantly these past few years, especially as the Paris Agreement was signed by over 200 countries, aiming to keep Earth's temperature well below two degrees Celsius.
However, some people still believe that climate change is a hoax or a conspiracy theory. US President Donald Trump withdrew the US' participation in the Paris Agreement in 2017 and had often treated the climate change issue with scepticism.
Wright said educating children on such a crucial environmental issue has become more important these days.
"By the second half of this century, climate change will affect almost all aspects of human societies and we can already see the effects - increased frequency of extreme weather events, temperature changes, ice melting and ecosystem destruction, among others," she said.
"We must educate our children on this so they may be able to innovate, create solutions, and build resilience in the future. Climate change education also provides an important window into individual and societal responsibility, as well environmental consciousness. It is important for students to understand that they can all make changes and move forward to help locally and globally."
In the UAE, strong measures have been taken when it comes to protecting the environment. It was announced recently that Dubai Airports - the busiest airport in the world - will ban single-use plastics across its commercial spaces.
Matthew Tompkins, principal of the school, said: "We are immensely proud of Candice and her pioneering work in this area. Climate change and sustainability are areas that all industries are required to consider and make morally responsible decisions about."
The UN Climate Change Teacher Academy
>Being delivered by Harwood Education, in partnership with UN CC:Learn
>Course components include:
1-Introduction to climate change science (optional)
2-Children and climate change
3-Cities and climate change
4-Human health and climate change
5-Gender and climate change
6-International legal regimes

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