Teachers need to catch up with the ideals of their students when it comes to prioritising sustainability as a core value in the classroom, according to the organisers of a conference for teachers on the topic this weekend.
While environmental concerns are top of the agenda for many school students, their teachers are often not well-versed enough to be able to provide the essential education that young people need on the topic.
On Saturday former President Mary Robinson will address teachers as part of an online conference designed to address the deficit. She will be joined by other environmentalists, academics and teachers with expertise in the area, who will also contribute.
'Climate Crisis - Hope & Action in Schools' is being organised by the State's Education Support Centre Network. Norma O'Brien of the Limerick Education Centre says the aim is to provide ideas that teachers and school leaders to bring back to implement in their schools.
"Teachers are aware of the issues but maybe some lack the confidence to teach it," said Ms O'Brien.
She said it is about devising education plans that lead to concrete actions that will impact the planet.
"Actions in terms of the choices that young people are making, that it isn't just tokenism but becomes part and parcel of decisions they will make in their lives going forward, whether its decisions on things like fast fashion, the circular economy, that students fully understand what that's about and the implications of the choices they make in their lives."
She says the event is part of a wider Department of Education move for schools to prioritise and promote a commitment to sustainable development as a core value in the daily routines of schools.
As part of this, short courses in sustainability have already been introduced at Junior Cycle level and a new Leaving Certificate subject, Climate Action and Sustainable Development is due to be introduced from next year initially as a pilot in a small number of schools.
The conference will also be addressed by Minister for Education Norma Foley.