Eight universities in Cambodia gathered from January 16 to 17 to advance climate change education in the country through the launch of a climate change curriculum developed with support from the United States Agency for International Development Lowering Emissions in Asia’s Forests (USAID LEAF) program, USAID Cambodia’s Supporting Forests and Biodiversity project (USAID SFB), and Asian university partners.
Educators announced the curriculum launch at a national seminar on Advancing Climate Change Education in Cambodia, held at Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) and organized by USAID LEAF, USAID SFB, RUPP and the Royal University of Agriculture (RUA).
Professors, forest specialists, and climate change experts from 14 universities from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea collaboratively developed the climate change curriculum over the last two years. The resulting suite of materials will be used to train the region’s future climate change professionals.
“The curriculum materials provide two important aspects: one is theoretical knowledge, and second is practical skills for lecturers on how teach the subject matters,” said Dr. Seak Sophat, Head of Department of Natural Resource Management – Development at Royal University of Phnom Penh. “With such a rich package of materials, Cambodian lecturers can help their students apply the knowledge, skills and attitudes in their real work to address climate change issues in a sustainable way.”
Representatives from Cambodian universities learned about the regional curriculum development process as well as its four modules: basic climate change, social and environmental soundness, low emissions land use planning, and carbon measurement and monitoring. “We all know that there is uncertainty in climate change,” said H.E. Dr. Sok Vanny, Vice Rector of the Royal University of Phnom Penh. “Therefore, we need a structured curriculum such as this which covers both its causes and effects, as well as effective responses.”
The national seminar was the first in a series of trainings to be provided by key trainers and facilitators from RUPP and RUA who have been engaged and trained in the curriculum by USAID LEAF. Lecturers, researchers, faculty managers and leaders from six other Cambodian universities, including Prek Leap National School of Agriculture, University of Battambang, Mean Chey University, Svay Rieng University, Chea Sim University of Kamchaymear and Kampong Cham National School of Agriculture joined RUPP and RUA at the seminar. The seminar also trained government officers, natural resources management professionals and NGO practitioners from Cambodia.
USAID LEAF is a five-year cooperative agreement, funded by USAID’s Regional Development Mission for Asia and implemented by Winrock International in partnership with SNV – Netherlands Development Organization, Climate Focus, and RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests. USAID LEAF employs a regional approach to help reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the forest-land use sector across six focus countries: Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Thailand and Vietnam.