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Slovakia: Environmental education will be compulsory

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Slovakia: Environmental education will be compulsory

01 August 2022
Country news

Deteriorating of the environment, dwindling of supplies of non-renewable resources and global warming are long-term global challenges. We have to respond to them as of childhood. That is why environmental issues will become part of compulsory education. Students will learn how they can actively contribute to solving climate problems.

Activities directly in nature, projects in the local community, own research or experiments on how to improve environmental protection:  the reform of basic education will bring these changes. The new state education programme, in addition to focusing on improving critical thinking and improving results in international testing, brings topics in the field of environmental and climate education. Until now, it has been up to the school to decide to what extent they will devote themselves to environmental issues, with the new state education programme they will be a compulsory part of education. This change will occur after the introduction of curricular reform into practice. Climatic topics will be included in the educational areas of Man and Society and Man and Nature, i.e. more precisely the subjects of geography, civics, chemistry and biology.

The teaching will also include professional discussions among students, which will be the basis for arguing and responding to counter-arguments, such as whether an individual can contribute to climate change mitigation. Students will draw on their own experience of deforestation, global warming, pollution, but also relevant professional articles.

Changes in the environment also have an impact on the psyche of young people. Also, as one of the tools to deal with the new phenomenon of climate anxiety, primary school education will lead students to active citizenship in this area. One of the goals of modern education will be for young people to be able to take an active part in improving society and the quality of the environment. It will also help build their psychological resilience and ability to cope with stressful situations.

What teaching about environmental topics look like today

Environmental education is part of the cross-cutting themes and it is up to the school to decide how to incorporate it into the school curriculum. The results of the survey of the Institute of Education Policy (What teaches you at that school, Analysis of the state of formal environmental education in Slovakia, April 2021) show that although our students achieve average results in knowledge of environmental topics in international comparisons, they have problems understanding and explaining global issues which requires critical thinking and awareness of interrelationships. At the same time, they are less aware of the importance of their own action in solving environmental problems.

For this reason too, the content of education will be enriched by current global challenges, including the interrelationships between social, economic and environmental issues. 

The survey also shows that environmental education was part of the content of subjects in 53% of primary schools. As a separate subject, it was only 5% of primary schools. Their findings also showed that 77% of grammar schools have environmental education incorporated as part of the content of subjects.

More information

Source:  Eurydice Unit Slovakia

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