The new Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland has the ambition of offering a broad general education with the opportunity for interdisciplinary work. Global topics such as climate change and sustainable development require such treatment:
The goal of sustainable development is to enable all people throughout the world to satisfy their basic needs and improve the quality of their lives without compromising the quality of life for future generations
Developing our children and young people as global citizens through sustainable development education is a key context for learning within Curriculum for Excellence. Sustainability issues feature prominently in the experiences and outcomes and offer learners an opportunity to engage with complex ethical issues relating to climate change, social justice, interdependence, health and wellbeing and biodiversity.
The PhD thesis `An exploratory study of the sustainable development education provided by the Curriculum for Excellence` is a small scale qualitative study based in one school in Stirlingshire. Its main findings were that although pupils received a solid foundation of knowledge on sustainable development issues in order to live more sustainable lives, they were not provided with enough knowledge with which to advance that education.
It is possible that there is too much breadth and not enough depth with which to build a sustainable education. It should be noted that since the Climategate scandal the term `global warming` has fallen out of favour to be replaced with `climate change`which illustrates how politicised this topic has become. It refuses to go away no matter what the evidence. Are our schoolchildren being equipped with enough information to be able to reflect on the politics and science as well as the ethics of global citizenship and sustainable development? I don`t think so.