Climate Change Education in Singapore - Perception and Practices 2011 - 2012

Funding Agency: RS-SAA, NIE/NTU

Role: Principal Investigator

Education is a key mitigation strategy to address global warming set against mounting evidence that recently observed changes in the climate is likely due to human activities.    This study provides baseline information on the nature of Climate Change Education (CCE) in Singapore through analysis of both the informal and formal curricula that learners are exposed to.  As an exploratory and descriptive study, a set of methods was used such as content analyses, survey, interviews, focus-group discussions and a performance task for students. Results show that the informal curriculum, extra-curricular venues of learning primarily for public education, is mainly focused on increasing awareness. Similarly, the formal curriculum as indicated by school syllabi content, instruction and assessment is found to be lacking in depth and breadth. Climate change topics are interspersed with general environmental matters in the syllabi. Further, the discourse is not given emphasis in textbook contents, time allotment for instruction, and assessment. The performance task and interviews show that the cohorts studied generally hold shallow and erroneous understanding about climate change causes, its effects as well as relevant strategies to manage it. These findings are well-founded reasons for a curricular revision to incorporate CCE as a full unit within syllabus documents. An impending revision of the curriculum in School Geography at the middle high school level in 2013 is thus both timely and opportune, in that it includes the topic of climate change that focuses on managing and closing the gaps between what students know and how they should use such knowledge to address the challenges posed by an evolving global climate change system. Teachers also need more resources and training to improve their subject content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge in teaching climate change.     

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