SQA removes ‘positive effects’ of climate change from course

The qualifications body said it has now updated the wording that was used in support notes for National 5 Geography.

SQA removes ‘positive effects’ of climate change from course iStock

School pupils will no longer be required to describe the ‘positive’ effects of climate change following a backlash.

It comes after a Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) revision textbook for National 5 Geography listed examples of the ‘positive’ effects of climate change.

It included suggestions that warmer temperatures could lead to increased tourism and improved crop yields.

The SQA has now updated the wording set out in the support notes to be more “clear and appropriate”, whilst pupils will no longer be encouraged to give “equal consideration” to the economic impacts of climate change.

The education body has said however that pupils will still need to use critical thinking to look at the short and long-term impacts of climate change in different parts of the world.

A review of geography course specifications at other qualification levels has also been carried out and confirmed that references to benefits of climate change are not included elsewhere.

Lesley Joyce, head of humanities, care and services qualifications at SQA, said: “We recognise the importance of ensuring learners are presented with up-to-date references to climate change to reflect the emergency we are facing, particularly as Scotland prepares to welcome the world to COP26 in Glasgow.

“Course content was devised a number of years ago, during which time views on climate change have evolved.

“In this instance, wording in the Course Support Notes was open to misinterpretation so we have worked with the teaching profession to ensure the National 5 wording is appropriate for today’s learners.”

The Scottish Greens had been pushing for the SQA to make the changes.

Ross Greer, the party’s education spokesperson, said: “Nineteen people died during last night’s shocking flash floods in Germany, with dozens more missing.

“The climate crisis is already here and it is killing people across the planet, so I’m pleased this absurd course specification will finally be removed.

“Young people are leading the fight to tackle this crisis, whether by striking from school, forcing corporations to move away from fossil fuels or campaigning against politicians who refuse to act.

“They don’t need the devastating effects of climate breakdown to be hidden from them. What they are calling out for instead is to be equipped with the skills and knowledge they will need to stop this catastrophe.

“Or preferably, for today’s leaders to face up to their responsibilities and take the action needed now.”

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