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50% of all UAE schools to be climate-ready by year end

Entering a partnership with UNICEF and UNESCO, the ministry of education aims to introduce a distinctive cross-curricular and co-curricular framework across all schools  

Dubai, April 25, 2023: About 50% of all schools and campuses in the UAE will be transformed to being climate-ready and more than a quarter will be green accredited by the end of 2023, the Ministry of Education has announced.  

UAE has entered into a Green Education Partnership Roadmap with UNICEF and UNESCO to make schools and learners climate-ready – a model that can be adapted globally. The roadmap has been announced in preparation for the hosting of COP28.  

Through the partnership, the ministry aims to introduce a distinctive cross-curricular and co-curricular framework across all schools, create an extensive training programme for all school principals and at least one teacher per school, and set up an Education Pavilion for the first time ever in the history of COP, among other initiatives.  

While announcing the ‘UAE’s Green Education Partnership Roadmap in preparation for COP28’, Dr Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of Education, emphasised on the importance of the UN Climate Change Conference and underscored the need for global cooperation to integrate the climate agenda into education.  

By the end of this year, the ministry aims to register 35% of schools in the UAE as green accredited and transform 50% of all schools and campuses in the country to meet this standard. 

The ministry has presented a set of ‘greening’ reforms with a comprehensive blueprint which concentrates on four key areas: schools, learning, capacities and communities. The ministry intends to promote sustainable practices among students and the wider community by providing a seven-point framework to schools and universities, enabling them to become more environmentally friendly and reduce their environmental impact. Furthermore, more than 200 eco-schools were granted green accreditation last year. 

The ministry has taken a significant step in this direction by partnering with IRENA to develop a cross-curriculum framework since 2019. This framework covers all 23 curricula within the country for all age groups, ensuring that students at all levels are exposed to sustainable development concepts.  

This year, the ministry is developing a framework and guidebooks, in alignment with the cross-curriculum framework, to guide the creation of sustainability focused co-curriculum activities for different levels of educational institutions in the country. The core topics will be energy, the earth biosphere, consumption climate action, and innovations for sustainability.  

The ministry has partnered with UNICEF and the Office for Climate Education to develop a comprehensive training plan that covers all principals and at least one teacher (master trainer) per school.  

Master-trainers will have the mission and responsibility to train all the remaining teachers. The training plan includes the ‘Educator Voice’ and ‘Children Voice’ initiative, which aims to empower educators and children to play an active role in addressing environmental challenges. Dr Amna said that training will be provided to more than 2,400 educators and 1,400 principals.  

Jumana Haj-Ahmad, UNICEF Gulf Deputy Representative has said that through this partnership and in the lead-up to COP28, UNICEF will support the training of school principals and teachers in all of the schools of UAE on climate education. Open-source learning materials will also be available for educators in the UAE and abroad.  

The Education Pavilion at COP28, created in partnership with UNESCO, will be the first in the history of COPs and serve as a base of operations to educate and inspire the world about the Green Education Partnership. As an international platform, it will be the central location to learn about the ministry’s efforts to combat climate change and ways to ensure its vital place in the ecosystem. There will be 13 days of activations.  

In collaboration with the Greening Education Partnership (GEP), UNESCO will work closely with the ministry to co-design this historic Education Pavilion.  

Additionally, the ministry is partnering with UNESCO and the University Task Force to develop a ‘School and University Engagement’ model, with each emirate implementing a unique approach to promote sustainable development in schools and universities. 

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