Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo appreciates decision
Rome: Italy’s Education Minister Lorenzo Fioramonti has said that Italy will next year become the world’s first country to make it compulsory for schoolchildren to study climate change and sustainable development.
Fioramonti, from the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, is the government’s most vocal supporter of green policies and was criticized by the opposition in September for encouraging students to skip school and take part in climate protests.
In an interview, Fioramonti said all state schools would dedicate 33 hours per year, almost one hour per school week, to climate change issues from the start of the next academic year in September.
Many traditional subjects, such as geography, mathematics and physics, would also be studied from the perspective of sustainable development, said the minister, a former economics professor at South Africa’s Pretoria University.
“The entire ministry is being changed to make sustainability and climate the center of the education model,” Fioramonti said.
“I want to make the Italian education system the first education system that puts the environment and society at the core of everything we learn in school.”
Fioramonti, 42, the author of several books arguing gross domestic product should no longer be used as the main measure of countries’ economic success, has been a target of the right-wing opposition since becoming a minister in the two-month-old government of 5-Star and the center-left Democratic Party.
His proposals for new taxes on airline tickets, plastic and sugary foods to raise funds for education were strongly attacked by critics who said Italians were already over-taxed.
He then sparked fury from conservatives when he suggested crucifixes should be removed from Italian classrooms to create a more inclusive environment for non-Christians.
Despite the criticism, the government’s 2020 budget presented to parliament this week included both the plastic tax and a new tax on sugary drinks.
“I was ridiculed by everyone and treated like a village idiot, and now a few months later the government is using two of those proposals and it seems to me more and more people are convinced it is the way to go,” Fioramonti said.
Italy’s Ambassador in Pakistan Stefano Pontecorvo appreciates his government’s decision.
“Proud of this decision by the Government. Taking the lead where it matters. Education of the younger generations is key to success in this fight for survival we all face,” he said.