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Climate change to be removed from topics covered in next year's Higher exams

Environmental campaigners call on Education Secretary John Swinney to reverse decision

CONCERNS were raised in Scotland today after it was revealed that climate change has been removed from the list of topics covered in one of next year’s Higher exams. 

Environmental campaigners have expressed their dismay after it emerged the topic was removed from the Higher religious, moral and philosophical studies exam by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA). 

Modifications made by Scotland’s exams body to the subject show that five topics have been dropped from the list of themes that may come up in exams, leaving teachers with little incentive to include them in the curriculum.

Removed topics include morality in regards to justice, relationships, medicine, conflict and the environment, specifically “climate change, the depletion of resources and biodiversity.”

Education Secretary John Swinney is now under pressure to reverse this decision, with members of the Scottish Youth Climate Strike writing to the government urging it to reconsider. 

Climate striker Dylan Hamilton said: “Climate education is already so limited in Scotland, yet it will define our futures. 

“How are we supposed to learn and tackle this problem if we aren’t even taught about it in school? It’s unacceptable to cut this out.”

Concerns about the removal of the climate emergency were also raised by MSPs, with Ross Greer of the Scottish Greens branding the decision “ludicrous.”

He said: “What is the SQA thinking? The climate crisis represents a threat to our very existence. It’s the single biggest challenge today’s young people will collectively face in their lifetimes. 

“It’s no wonder pupils are walking out of school on climate strikes when this is the importance our education agencies put on the issue.”

An SQA spokesman said: “Climate change continues to form a significant part of the Higher Geography and Higher Environmental Science courses.

“The issue of climate change has not been removed from the Higher RMPS course. The modifications we have made to the assessment are to create additional learning and teaching time for this year alone. They are based on feedback from teachers and lecturers in response to our consultation in August. We continue to recommend the full course – including the topic of climate change – should still be delivered so candidates experience the subject as richly as possible. 

“These modifications are intended to be for one year only and as a result of exceptional circumstances.”  


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