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Geoffrey Alphonso, Dr. Amna Al Dahak Al Shamsi and Eric Guliyardi. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Office for Climate Education (OCE) and Alef Education, has announced the launch of the ‘Educators’ Voice’ initiative. This initiative aims to recognise the crucial role of educational professionals in raising awareness and addressing climate change while preparing for its potential impacts. The initiative will be showcased during COP28, which will be hosted by the UAE in Dubai Expo City in November.

This cooperation with the OCE aims to encourage educators to participate and present their climate projects from all over the world. It also aims to organise side events related to climate action in the Education Pavilion, which will be opened for the first time in the history of COP. Additionally, it intends to consolidate a distinguished legacy for the post-COP28 era by translating all the OCE’s resources into Arabic to be widely used and distributed in the MENA region.

Dr. Amna Al Dahak Al Shamsi, assistant undersecretary of the care and capacity building sector at the Ministry of Education, emphasised the importance of the Educators’ Voice initiative in empowering and preparing educators worldwide while fostering their innovative and creative potential. This initiative reflects the significant role they play in equipping the next generation to address and respond to the climate crisis. Additionally, it enables them to communicate their perspectives on environmental issues to policymakers and society.

Dr. Al Shamsi said: “The Ministry of Education is committed to continue collaborating with all local, regional and international strategic partners to develop initiatives and programs aimed at raising awareness about the importance of education in addressing climate change and tackling its challenges. We strive to provide students with climate education and environmentally conscious skills in order to enhance their ability to adapt to climate change impacts and prepare for its consequences.”

As part of the initiative, OCE will organise the third edition of the TeachersCOP competition. This international event is aimed at raising awareness among global officials and decision-makers about the impactful work carried out by teachers and the role they play in addressing challenges and enhancing the global response to climate change.

School teachers in all cycles, trainers, school principals, and inspectors who have implemented activities or initiatives aimed at increasing awareness about climate change and addressing its challenges can apply to participate in the competition by filling out the form available on the website before September 30. A committee of experts will evaluate the applications and select 30 projects by October 9. The winning teachers will then be invited to present these projects in person during the COP28 conference at Expo Dubai.

Eric Guilyardi, President of OCE, said: “The TeachersCOP event sheds light on the unwavering commitment and dedication of educational professionals who play a significant role in integrating climate issues within the education system. Their utilisation of the educational process as a powerful tool for reshaping climate concepts and their continuous dedication to creating a daily impact strengthens the global response to climate change. This event is not only a recognition of their efforts but also a platform where they can share their work with fellow educators from around the world in an interactive way.”

Geoffrey Alphonso, CEO of Alef Education, said: “We are honoured to be selected as a strategic partner by the Ministry of Education to advance climate education. Our mission at Alef Education closely aligns with the ministry’s vision of empowering teachers and inspiring students to become prominent contributors in addressing climate change challenges. Through this partnership, our goal is to assist teachers in integrating climate change issues into the curriculum, fostering the development of a sustainable mindset among students.”

OCE, in collaboration with its partners, will host regional online seminars in Arabic, French, Spanish and English languages. The objective is to encourage global teacher participation and boost the number of projects.

The UAE’s Ministry of Education recently announced the Green Education Partnership Roadmap in anticipation of COP28. This roadmap incorporates the UAE Green Education Partnership, an important initiative focused on strengthening the role of education in attaining sustainable development goals and integrating the climate agenda into the country’s educational system.