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The curriculum of climate change education: A case for Singapore

Partners' Institution
Limerick Institute of Technology
Reference
The curriculum of climate change education: A case for Singapore
Thematic Area
Environmental studies
DOI
10.1080/00958964.2017.1289883
Summary
The inclusion of the climate change topic in the curriculum of school subjects in Singapore was pivotal, such that it positioned the discourse squarely in the structure of Singapore’s education system. In an examination of the intersections and disjoints between state policies on climate change against the programmatic curriculum, results showed that there is no strong policy curriculum that mandates how climate change should be learned in Singapore, even though it is present in several school subjects. The topic is included in school subjects through the initiative of subject disciplinary specialists and middle managers of the education ministry. This exemplar has implications on how climate change education policy and practice can be shaped elsewhere
Relevance for Complex Systems Knowledge
The research highlighted the role in which climate change education occurs within the educational system in Singapore. It noted that the city-state has strong and comprehensive policies for the climate but with a very discernible lack of attention on and action to involve the education sector in the process, officially.
The role in which climate change educations plays within the system was developed primarily through an internal process advanced by subject specialists with the initiative to include climate change. geography teachers who have strong geography disciplinary thinking could not have missed the important concepts of human-environment interaction and interconnectedness, which are two of the hallmark concepts of the discipline. Therefore curriculum-making process is not restricted by national climate change policies but there is no concrete structure that secures climate change to its place in the curriculum.
The curriculum content of this research looked at the ways in which climate change was highlighted within different educational aspects. In Social studies, Climate change is not overtly stipulated in the syllabus, although the content alludes to impact of human activities on the environment while in Geography, Variable Weather and Climate, is discussed in which the causes and impact of climate change. Students also explore the relationship between climate change and extreme weather patterns through the study of floods.
This research analysis of Singapore’s national level climate change policy has not uncovered a direct mandate on how climate change education should be carried out.
Point of Strength
The strength of this work highlights that while climate change education is not overtly present within the education system, the work carried out by experienced and knowledgeable practitioners is what is driving changes. However, this is not widespread and equal within all areas.
The inclusion of climate change within a number of sub areas of the education system (economic, social science, science, geography), no matter the size of the education is important for students to get an all around view of the issue.