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Italy plans mandatory climate change lessons

November 7, 2019

Ocean pollution, sustainable living and green mathematics aren't typical school subjects. But Italy's education minister has big plans to make a radically green syllabus.

Pupils sit at desks in a small classroom in Italy
Image: picture-alliance/ZUMA Wire/S. Guidi

All children in Italy will have to study climate change at school starting from next year, becoming the first country in the world where this will be compulsory.

Italy's minister for education, Lorenzo Fioramonti, announced the decision on Wednesday.

The decision will apply to all state-run schools in the southern European nation and will come into force from the start of the 2020 school year in September.

Read more:  Italy: Taranto residents rise up to stop air pollution claiming local lives

The lessons, which will also teach sustainable development, will be given to pupils from first grade through high school, from the ages of six to 19 years.

Speaking earlier to Reuters news agency, Fioramonti said all state schools would dedicate 33 hours per year, almost one hour per school week, to climate change issues.

"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," the lawmaker for the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement party said.

Read more: Can artificial intelligence in the energy sector help solve the climate crisis?

Online maps fight environmental destruction

A green syllabus

According to a report in UK newspaper The Telegraph the syllabus will be based on theUnited Nations' 17 sustainable development goals, including how to live more sustainably, how to combat the pollution of the oceans and how to address poverty and social injustice.

Traditional subjects such as geography, mathematics and physics, would also be studied from a green perspective.

Fioramonti has been a vocal supporter of green policies in government.

He drew criticism in September this year for encouraging students to miss class and attend the Fridays for Future climate protests.

His proposals for a plastic tax and sugary drink tax were also criticized, but they were presented to parliament for approval as part of the Italian government's 2020 budget this week.

Read more: Europe's black gas market fueling climate change

kmm/se (AP, Reuters)

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