Three in four people in the UK believe children should learn about climate change in primary school or earlier, a survey suggests.
More than two in five (41%) do not feel the current education system in the UK is teaching issues on the environment well, according to research by educational publishing group Pearson.
It found 78% of respondents believe climate and environment topics were not adequately discussed or taught when they were in school.
More than half (52%) believe children should start learning about climate change at primary school, while 23% say it should start in preschool, according to the poll of 1,000 16 to 70-year-olds.
The findings come after young campaigners called for climate change education to be covered across the whole curriculum.
Earlier this month, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi set out a series of measures to put climate change at the heart of education.
It is already taught in science and geography lessons in England as part of the curriculum in both primary and secondary schools.
But the Government’s draft sustainability and climate change strategy says teachers will be given access to the “best training and support” in these subjects to ensure young people understand the importance of sustainability.
It adds that it will develop a “model” science curriculum in primary schools, with a focus on nature and the recognition of species, by 2022 to ensure all children understand the world around them.
The survey from Pearson, carried out between October and November, suggests 59% of UK respondents are currently trying to educate themselves more about climate issues.
Just over a third (36%) of Britons are very or somewhat likely to look for employment in a field that would have a direct impact on the environment.
Pearson commissioned a global survey of 5,000 people in the United States, Brazil, China, India, Mexico and the UK, with 1,000 respondents per nation.
It found that 88% of respondents globally feel there is a more urgent need to educate people about climate issues than when they were in school, and 88% believe schools have a responsibility to teach students about climate and environmental issues.
Erika Webb-Hughes, Pearson’s vice-president for sustainability, said: “When you know better, you do better. Globally, the majority of people are educating themselves to gain a deeper understanding of climate change and the positive impact they can have through their own actions and careers.
“Their hunger to learn (what perhaps wasn’t covered so extensively in formal education a number of generations ago) about the environment is fuelling green jobs and practices that can be incorporated into any role or industry, as well as personal actions we can all take that will ensure a sustainable future for our world.”
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