By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
Education Secretary Leonor Briones underscored the need to “rework” and review the curriculum for basic education in an effort to increase the awareness of both learners and teachers on the effects and “emerging challenges” brought about by climate change.
Briones, in a phone interview, said that there is an ongoing review of the K to 12 curriculum. During the review, the Department of Education (DepEd) will include the importance of understanding climate change and its effects. “We will have to rework our curriculum to make our children more aware and also the community,” she said.
After visiting the areas affected by Tropical Depression “Usman” in Camarines Sur last week, Briones said that making the members of the community – parents, teachers, and learners – understand the effects of climate change is more important than ever before.
“If you will see the landslide, it is the biggest landslide that one can possibly imagine,” she shared. “It covered more than five kilometers, so napakalaki talaga at kailangan napaghahandaan yung mga ganito,” she added.
Briones said that teachers and school administrators would have to be more aware of the effects of climate change and disaster management. “Nakasanayan na natin na storm signals lang basis natin but it doesn’t work that way anymore,” she said. “This time, I personally thought it was just a tropical depression it will not be as dangerous as a typhoon but a tropical depression, because of climate change, can trigger damage even bigger or worse than that of the storm,” she added.
“On our part in DepEd, we will alert our teachers that it is not just about the wind anymore,” Briones said. “Especially in Metro Manila, we are sufficiently scared already because of the warning on the ‘Big One’ but the flooding is more the countryside,” she added.
Going to CamSur, Briones described that there were landslides that were on a “smaller scale” in addition to the big ones. “It means that this has become a trend,” she said. “We don’t see it because before, it used to be in several areas only,” she added.
Briones also underscored the need for teachers and learners to be more aware of dealing with disasters “since the first establishments to be affected are usually the schools because many of these are just one-story buildings.”
More than ever, Briones said that there is a need to change the public’s outlook on disasters. “We’re not talking about education alone but about the whole country,” she explained. “This does not only affect the private the institutions but also private citizens’ homes that’s why we need to change the outlook that largely, typhoons cause floods and landslides,” she said.