Learning about climate change the Pacific way

Friday, 13 June 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji – Children across the Pacific are set to receive a visual learning aid that will help them understand climate change processes and encourage them to get active in adaptation and mitigation. A new picture-based education resource called ‘Learning about Climate Change the Pacific Way’ has been produced for students, teachers and facilitators. It includes posters and country-specific teacher guides that illustrate and explain key concepts such as climate, the causes and effects of climate change, and adaptation and mitigation options for Pacific Islands.

An initial supply of 6000 copies of the resource will be printed and distributed through ministries of education to primary and secondary schools in Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu. It was developed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in partnership with the German Agency for International Cooperation through the Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Islands Region (CCCPIR) Programme and in collaboration with the ministries of education and relevant government agencies in each of the countries. Seed funding was provided by the Australian Government through the Pacific-Australia Climate Change Science and Adaptation Planning Program (PACCSAP).

‘Learning about Climate Change the Pacific Way’ was officially launched on Thursday 5 June 2014 at De Vos on the Park hotel in Suva, Fiji, by the Fiji Ministry of Education with climate change focal points from the Governments of Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu.

The resource consists of 16 illustrated posters that depict the water cycle, Pacific islands and global climate, causes of climate change, interrelationships between different factors, how the climate is changing in five Pacific Island countries, and mitigation and adaptation measures that can be implemented through gardening, forestry and fishing activities and in a town centre. Copies of the resource are available online (http://www.spc.int/cc-project/).

The accompanying teacher guides provide background information and ideas for hands-on teaching activities. These have been designed to assist teachers to provide practical and engaging instruction methods that deliver key messages on climate change science for learners of any age.

Special attention will be given to training teachers so they and their students can gain maximum benefit from the new resource.

Ms Alumeci Tuisawau, Director of Technology Employment Skills Training at the Fiji Ministry of Education, National Heritage, Culture and Arts, says, ‘The resource is very timely… we want to use Learning about Climate Change the Pacific Way to train teachers.’

The Kiribati Teachers College pre-tested the resource by training 55 teachers in Abaiang, an outer island in Kiribati. Ms Carol Young, an education specialist employed to assist with the training, says: “The resource was very well received in Kiribati and the suggested learning activities were immediately used by teachers in their classrooms. Students were very excited as they could recognise their environment in the pictures and they got active with drama and singing.”

Further funding was provided by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the United States Agency for International Development. Funding was provided through the CCCPIR programme and the Enhanced Climate Change Resilience of Food Production Systems in Pacific Island Countries and Territories project respectively.

The Australian Department for the Environment, United States Embassy, Pacific Regional Environmental Program (SPREP), Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development of the University of the South Pacific (USP) and SEREAD helped to celebrate the launch.

SPREP, USP, SEREAD, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Pacific Resources for Education and Learning, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies also provided technical advice and input during the development of the resource.


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