Expert wants climate change study introduced in younger school years

Climate change should be taught to all students from middle primary school and be embedded in a range of subjects, a senior science curriculum authority says.

As the Abbott government launches a review of the school curriculum, the Dean of Teaching and Learning at Curtin University, Vaille Dawson, said climate change was not explicitly mentioned until year 10 under the national system and should be introduced to classrooms earlier.

She said climate change was the most significant social issue the world was going to face and every student should have access to a sound, evidence-based material on the underlying science.

”Many teachers are already teaching climate change to younger students. But the rationale about getting it more explicitly in the curriculum is so that every teacher teaches it,” she said.

Research and interviews carried out by Dr Dawson - who was involved in editing and reviewing the national science curriculum for prep to year 10 - and others has found many students are conflating climate change with other issues such as the the ozone layer hole.

Dr Dawson said the curriculum review did not look like it would include more climate change, or other cutting edge scientific topics, into schools.

”It concerns me it will be a back-to-basics approach that will again make science an elite subject that it used to be,” she said. ”Science needs to be for every single student, not just for our future scientists.”

Education Minster Christopher Pyne has appointed Kenneth Wiltshire and Kevin Donnelly to conduct the review. A spokesman for Mr Pyne said it would ensure the national curriculum was robust and appropriately focused, and the government would not pre-empt its findings due midyear.

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