Italy is becoming the first country in the world to require climate change and sustainable development to be taught as part of the curriculum for every grade. It will mainly be taught in civics classes but will also play a role in mathematics, physics, and geography classes.
Lorenzo Fioramonti, Italy’s education minister, told Reuters, “I want to make the Italian education system the first education system that puts the environment and society at the core of everything we learn in school.”
To get the curriculum and the teachers ready, the government is working with experts like Jeffrey Sachs, the director of the Harvard Institute for International Development.
Lessons will vary depending on age group, with elementary school students learning about the role of the environment through storybooks and older students through the actual science and the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
According to Fioramonti, 33 hours per year — one hour per school week — will be dedicated to addressing climate change issues, starting next September. “The entire ministry is being changed,” he said, “to make sustainability and climate change the center of the education model.”