Climate change is kept in the curriculum but it’s a bittersweet victory

All rights reserved. Credit: 38 Degrees
Esha and fellow activists handing in the petition calling for climate change lessons to be kept in the curriculum to the Department for Education
Image caption: 
Esha and fellow activists handing in the petition calling for climate change lessons to be kept in the curriculum to the Department for Education

A few months ago, I sat expressing my anger towards the
removal of climate change from the geography curriculum
for key stages 1 – 3.
The Department for Education seemed to overlook the very people who this
decision would affect – school students. A few months later, I am happy and
relieved to say that our request to keep climate in the curriculum has been

Today, it was announced that climate change would be kept in
the Key Stage 3 curriculum
. This means that students who do not choose geography
at GCSE have a chance to learn about an issue that is so prominent that we have
world leaders and politicians flying off to discuss it several times a year. Regardless of anyone’s belief, including it
allows us to be informed about the physical and human elements of climate

Although I’m glad climate change is being kept in, the
specification misses out core details. Topics such as sustainable development
and global citizenship have completely been removed. These very core details
are the aspects that relate climate change to our everyday life; aspects that
will directly impact students in the UK.

As a young person growing up in an economic crisis, I always
hear about our economic situation deteriorating, yet the impact of climate change on economic prosperity
is not mentioned in the revised

In addition, I find the revised geography curriculum to be
poorly written, in the sense that it is vague. Compared to other subjects such
as science and history, it lacks any real detail on topics and instead merely
lists them.

Although it is a victory, it feels like a bittersweet
victory. The voices of 70,000 students, academics and members of the public
seemed to fall upon deaf ears within the Department for Education. It was
frustrating to see that the Department only began to listen when the energy and
climate change secretary listened to our concerns and stepped in.

I am happy that our concerns have been listened to but I
think there is still an important lesson to learn: young people must be
involved in the decisions which will affect our futures.

I’ve experienced first-hand the positive impacts that
education can have on us all. Personally, education has helped form my
ambitions, opinions, and I certainly wouldn’t be writing this if it weren’t for
my geography lessons, both during and prior to GCSE. Students, alongside
teacher’s opinions should be more valued, yet our voices are rarely heard.

All those signatories and hard work from young people
represent just how much students are interested in their education and the
importance of climate change within the curriculum. I look forward to continuing
to be involved with getting young people at the heart of today’s decision

Esha Marwaha is a 15 year old student from West London who played a leading role in the campaign to keep climate change on the curriculum after she started an online petition, which  generated news headlines and attracted tens of thousands of signatories.

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