Climate Change Education in Pakistan: An Analysis of Public School Science Textbooks


 Presenter (s) Mohammad Mansoor Khan, University at Albany-SUNY

Awareness of climate change is growing globally. And while many organizations and individuals have been making efforts to raise awareness about climate change, the scale of the movement in this current moment in history is perhaps unprecedented, with coordinated efforts taking place globally (The New York Times 2019). Pakistan is no exception with thousands marching in the September 2019 global climate change protests across the country (Ali 2019). It remains to be seen whether these efforts will be successful and sustainable.

One means of achieving sustainability in climate change is through education. By introducing climate change content into school curriculums at an early age, we increase the potential that these students will grow into individuals who are more environmentally and socially responsible than the current generation of adults. To that end we must first determine the current state of climate change education in Pakistan as it appears in the textbooks.

The purpose of this study is to understand and describe how science textbooks used in Pakistani public schools describe and teach global climate change. The specific research question is:

How do middle and high school science textbooks present accepted scientific concepts related to climate change?

The scope of the research will be restricted to science text books approved by provincial boards of education in the provinces of Pakistan, namely Sindh, Punjab, Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and by the federal board of education at the secondary school level. The choice of public schools was precipitated by the fact that majority of school attending children in Pakistan study in public school. Two secondary considerations also precipitated the choice to restrict the focus on public schools. The first being evidence of the historical revisionism in textbooks being used in Pakistan promoting religious intolerance. Does this trend extend to science education as well? The second being that textbooks in private school either directly follow, or are influenced by imported educational curriculums from the United States, United Kingdom. But since only a small proportion of student study in private schools, long term impact at a national scale can only be achieved through reform at the public school level.

The study will attempt to answer this question through the use of a modified analytical framework developed by the O’Keeffe (2013) for the analysis of mathematics textbooks. O’Keeffe’s framework is based on other foundational studies by Halliday (1973), Morgan (2004), Valverde et al., (2002) and Rivers (1990). Following O’Keeffe’s framework, this study will focus on four elements; Content, Structure, Expectation and Language used to communicate climate change concepts in science textbooks (O’Keeffe 2013).

2 Responses

  1. Dylan Pierce

    Great poster. I think this topic is really interesting and it would be great to take things a step further and examine how students perceive and integrate climate change education paradigms into their frame of thinking. Perhaps student storytelling in regard to how they see climate change affecting their future would be a compelling way to explore the topic.

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