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Italy will make studying climate change in schools mandatory: 'The 21st-century citizen must be a sustainable citizen'


Here it comes

Photo by Torsten Blackwood - Pool/Getty Images

Italy is set to become the first nation on earth to require the study of climate change and sustainability for a comprehensive education.

What are the details?

Lorenzo Fioramonti, Italy's education minister, announced Tuesday that new regulations will require students in every grade to learn about climate change and its effects on the environment.

According to Reuters, students will be required to take 33 hours of climate change-related classes per school year. The new regulation will kick in for the 2020-21 school year.

"The entire ministry is being changed to make sustainability and climate the center of the education model," Fioramonti told the news agency. "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."

CNN reported that the lessons on climate change and sustainability will be folded into existing civics classes, which will have an "environmentalist footprint" beginning in the new school year.

Vincenzo Cramarossa, Fioramonti's spokesman, told the outlet, "The idea is that the citizens of the future need to be ready for the climate emergency."

The New York Times reports that the school curriculum will be developed in part by environmental experts.

"The 21st-century citizen," Fioramonti said, "must be a sustainable citizen."

He also made the announcement on Twitter, writing, "I want Italy to become a leader against climate change, being the first country to make sustainable development the cornerstone of our new education and research approach."

What else?

Fioramonti came under fire in September after encouraging schools to permit students to skip school in order to participate in climate protests.

"I have asked schools to consider as justified the absence of students who take part in the global mobilization against climate change," he wrote in a Facebook post at the time.

He addressed the protests themselves within the post, insisting that they were integral parts of students' future, which "threatened by environmental devastation and an unsustainable economic growth model."

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