Italy to Require Climate Change Education in Schools by 2020

Category: Education/Family


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. incorporate / ɪnˈkɔr pəˌreɪt / (v) – to include something

    International schools incorporate cultural studies in their curriculum to promote respect among their students.

  2. advocate / ˈæd və kɪt / (n) – someone who openly supports something

    Despite a lack of support, he continues to be an advocate of free education.

  3. technical / ˈtɛk nɪ kəl / (adj) – describing something that involves the use of scientific knowledge

    Accounting is a technical skill.

  4. pass down / pæs daʊn / (phrasal) – to give or pass something to someone who has a lower position, such as a younger generation

    My grandfather passed down his knowledge in business to his children and grandchildren.

  5. urgently / ˈɜr dʒənt li / (adv) – immediately, as when responding to an emergency

    The students told their teacher urgently about the accident in the laboratory.


Read the text below.

Italy is incorporating climate change and sustainability lessons in its curriculum, making it the very first country to do so.

Starting next school year, primary and secondary school students in the country will be required to complete 33 hours of climate change and sustainability education. This was according to Italy’s education minister Lorenzo Fioramonti, who is an environmental advocate. He explained that the ministry is implementing these changes to put the environment at the core of Italy’s education.

The initial plan is to use fairy tales to discuss sustainability and climate change to students aged six to 11. Middle schoolers are expected to learn some technical information about climate change, while high school students will tackle the United Nations’ (UN’s) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through existing school subjects. For example, instead of focusing on locations in geography, the subject will now also cover the impact of human actions on the planet.

A group of experts will be involved in the preparation of the new curriculum. Among those who will evaluate it are experts from top universities like Harvard and Oxford. Once the curriculum is revised, teachers will be trained by January 2020 to teach it.

Edoardo Zanchini, a vice president of an environmental group in Italy, said that teaching sustainability in schools is very important. However, he warned that the responsibility of dealing with environmental issues should not be passed down to younger generations and that the world can no longer wait for them to act. According to a UN study, the world needs to act urgently within the next decade to prevent extreme calamities caused by global warming in the future.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think Italy’s plan to teach sustainability and climate change in schools is a good idea? Why or why not?
• Aside from the inclusion of sustainability and climate change in the curriculum, in what other ways can the younger generation be involved in these issues? Discuss.

Discussion B

• Who do you think should be involved in deciding what to include in schools’ curriculum (e.g. the government, the parents)? Explain.
• If you were to include a new subject or topic in your country’s education system, what would it be and why? Discuss.