Protecting the planet can be learned. In the United Kingdom, the Department of Education has decided to prepare the youngest for the climate crisis from school. High school students will soon be able to choose a new specialty from the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE), equivalent to the Brevet des collèges in France, which will be entirely devoted to environmental issues. Enough to equip the “climate generation” for a worrisome future.
This new ‘natural history’ GCSE will be introduced in public schools in September 2025, reports the independent† As a reminder, the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) is a national diploma, usually obtained in the 11th year (at the age of 15 or 16), which marks the end of secondary education. The exam includes some compulsory subjects, such as Mathematics, English or Science, but students must then choose options for the rest of their qualifications. And if geography has already dealt in part with climate issues, the new specialty will enable young Britons to learn more in-depth about these issues.
Understanding the planet to better preserve it
This new option teaches, among other things, the evolution of species, the impact of human activities on natural environments, how they change and evolve… While familiarizing students with sustainability issues to help them act in favor of environmental protection. The Ministry of Education has further stated that this qualification will make it easier to pursue a career in climate change and conservation, “whether understanding local wildlife conservation or conducting the fieldwork required to identify species”noted the independent†
“Sustainability and climate change are the biggest challenges facing humanity. (…) The new Natural History GCSE will provide an opportunity for young people to develop a deeper knowledge and understanding of this amazing planet, its environment and the way it serves.”
Nadhim Zahawi, Secretary of State for Education, quoted by the independent
This new curriculum is part of the Ministry of Education’s sustainability and climate change strategy, which aims to equip young people with skills in science, technology and mathematics while raising their awareness of climate resilience. An “A level” (equivalent to the baccalaureate) devoted to environmental issues has also already been introduced in the UK.