Dubai Takes the Lead in Global Climate Change Education
Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General, KHDA was among those present at a recent Climate Change Conference held at The Kindergarten School on Tuesday 12 November to celebrate the launch of a new school curriculum. The curriculum is unique in the world because it focuses on embedding comprehensive coverage of climate change issues throughout all classes and years.
The new environmental syllabus is so innovative that senior education executives from one of the most prestigious authorities in the United Kingdom flew over to attend the conference to learn how the UAE is addressing climate change through education.
“We wanted to see for ourselves how this new cutting-edge curriculum was being implemented in the UAE,” explains Jan Parnell, Assistant Director of Education at Hammersmith and Fulham local authority in London. “We have been truly inspired and intend to take this teaching template back to the U.K. to help transform the way we tackle climate change education in our area.”
The GEMS school is the first school in the world to have all 300 members of the teaching and support staff accredited as certified United Nations Climate Change teachers. This accreditation program was launched earlier this year by Educcate Global and has so far accredited over 27,000 teachers from across the world. The UAE was one of the very first to recognize the importance of this modern teaching program.
Dino Varkey, CEO of GEMS Education confirmed that Dubai is now a leading light in addressing these serious issues. “The world is now waking up to the fact that urgent action is needed to address the climate emergency, and what better way to start than with education. What we are seeing here at GEMS Kindergarten Starters is just the start of what we intend to be a long term program of enhancing the teaching throughout our school network across the world.”
In contrast to most environmental conferences, this one was dominated by the children themselves. The conference began with a 300 strong choir singing a stirring version of Michael Jackson’s eco anthem Earth Song and was followed by heartfelt requests from a number of individual youngsters for the adults in the room to step forward and take notice of the crisis by taking real action.
“These young children are the leaders of tomorrow, and it’s is truly inspiring to hear them articulate their concerns for the future and their determination to take action,” says Melanie Harwood, Chief Executive of Educcate Global, “We believe that headteacher Asha Alexander’s amazing work here will have an incredible impact on teaching throughout the UAE and beyond.”
In 1959, two teachers, KS Varkey and his wife Mariamma, arrived in Dubai.
At the time, Dubai was a burgeoning trade centre on the Arabian Gulf. The Varkey family had left Kerala, India to seek a better life for their family. What they found was a real need to educate children arriving in the city from around the world.
Their son, Sunny, added a visionary’s ambition to a practitioner's experience. From simple roots in a family of teachers, GEMS Education, is today an international company with schools and education services across the Middle East. We still share the same mission - to provide a quality education to everyone.