Tuesday 22 March 2014, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji – Just before the Easter long weekend, the Fiji Ministry of Education held a national curriculum consultation that finalised the process of incorporating climate change and disaster risk management into the curricula of primary and secondary schools in Fiji.

‘This is the final consultation on the integration of climate change and disaster risk management into the curriculum. It started way back in 2011, in collaboration with SPC and GIZ,’ says Ms Alumeci Tuisawau, Director of Technology Employment Skills Training in the Ministry of Education, National Heritage, Culture and Arts, speaking at the event.

‘The process is to provide quality assurance. One of the key areas in our curriculum development process is stakeholder consultations, and this we have carried out today,’ she explained.

The full day consultation, held at the Holiday Inn in Suva, Fiji, involved staff from the Fiji Ministry of Education's Curriculum Development Unit presenting the revised curricula to representatives from government, NGOs and academic institutions. The process involved group discussions, a feedback session, and the opportunity to ask questions. Based on the feedback received, the Curriculum Development Officers will determine if further changes need to be incorporated into the revised curricula before they are trialled in schools next year.

The education ministry began the process of incorporating climate change into school curricula in 2011. The following year, they were mandated to perform this role after the cabinet of the interim government of Fiji endorsed the National Climate Change Policy. This document sets out national positions and priorities with respect to climate change. One of these – Objective 4: Education and training – is to, ‘Integrate climate change in school curricula, tertiary courses, and vocational, non-formal education and training programmes’.

The Ministry of Education, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, has revised relevant content and learning outcomes in school curricula to incorporate appropriate learning objectives andto increase students' capacity to deal with climate change impacts and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Fiji national curriculum consultationprocess has been supported by the SPC-GIZ Coping with Climate Change in the Pacific Island Region (CCCPIR) programme, which is implemented on behalf of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany. The Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development at the University of the South Pacific also contributed to syllubus development.

The CCCPIR programme is supporting similar revision processes designed to incorporate climate change and disaster risk management in education curricula in Kiribati, Tonga and Vanuatu. The programme also produces and distributes a range of education and awareness materials in English, French and vernacular languages for primary and secondary school students throughout the Pacific region.