- At COP27, India released its Long-Term Low Emissions and Development Strategies (LT-LEDS) which outlines priorities for carbon-intensive sectors like electricity and industry and transport, and emphasises the role of a Lifestyle for Environment (LiFE) as a mass movement towards sustainable consumption and production.
Education’s role in LiFE movement
- Education has a vital role in the LiFE movement as it brings behavioral shifts of individuals and re-shaping of markets which could make a significant impression in reducing planet-warming gasses.
Hurdles in education sector
- School closures during pandemic
- Led to a learning deficit that’s getting reflected in reduced test scores.
- Likely impacts productivity and per capita income levels in the long term.
- School closures could reduce GDP levels by anywhere from 1.1 to 4.7 per cent by mid-century, according to a paper by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
- Impact of climate change
- Climate impacts disrupt children’s learning and well-being globally. For instance, extreme heat reduces students’ learning levels and causes physiological harm.
- Children’s health is affected due to persistently poor air quality in cities like Delhi.
- Displacement due to climate change related disasters often leads to children dropping out of schools and being trafficked or subject to child labour due to distressed household incomes.
- Experiences of climate-induced disasters and anxiety about the future are causing despair and dread among young people.
- At a national level a strong enabling framework through a consultative exercise with educators, students, experts from the humanities and sciences, and relevant ministries and departments for a climate-resilient education system could cover matters from curricula to nutrition to school building codes in a climate-changed world.
- Design and implementation in states and districts should be shaped by existing local needs and anticipated climate risks. This could involve infrastructure investments so school buildings can double up as emergency shelters in cyclone-prone areas and capacity additions so government schools in mega-cities that are destinations for climate migrants can integrate and empower children.
- Across the board, children should be able to access clean water and nutritious food.
- Students’ mental health needs should be served through an empathic expansion and an emphasis on social and emotional learning.
- Curricula can be infused with scientific and technical know-how alongside indigenous and local knowledge. For instance,
- Baiga and Gond students are learning about the potential of integrating biodiversity conservation with regenerative agriculture
- Bengaluru youth are taking civic and climate actions from waste management to lake restorations to make their city more liveable.
- Critical thinking should be fostered instead of rote learning so that the next generation can embrace complexity and make informed choices.
- Prioritize technical training in colleges and universities so that the decarbonisation pathway can be rapidly accelerated.
- Investments in primary and secondary education are the greatest lever for development
- Strong analytical capabilities and holistic thinking about societal transformations has to be developed.