Workshop for Streamlining Climate Basics into Ethiopia’s Higher Education Curricula

Theme: Streamlining Climate Education to Tackle Climate Crisis - Call for action to empower Ethiopia’s next generation with climate knowledge and build resilience

Climate variability and change are likely to contribute significantly to the food security challenges of millions of Ethiopians. The impact is expected to grow due to recurrent extreme events, including water shortages, heat stresses, drought, flash floods, and pest and disease outbreaks, causing significant disruptions in the countries’ agricultural production and food systems, disproportionately affecting the vast majority of smallholder farmers and marginalized agro-pastoralists and pastoralists. Therefore, it is imperative to forge a concerted effort and multi-faceted approaches, including putting in place Institutional arrangements and resilience-building enabling policies, investments in green technologies, climate services such as muti-sectoral and muti-hazard early warning systems that lead to preparedness and early action, and climate education and awareness creations efforts that enable the next generation of workforce with climate knowledge among others to build resilience and adaptive capacity. 

Education is a critical agent in addressing the issues of extreme events, climate variability, and change. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to which Ethiopia is a signatory, assigns responsibility to the Parties of the Convention to undertake educational and public awareness campaigns on climate change and to ensure public participation in programs and information access on the issue. Knowledge of climate change and its adverse effects in the country aims to inform, inspire and challenge people, especially the next generation, to understand and work towards addressing its impact and empower communities to change their behaviors to adapt and act as agents of change to this global, regional and national emergency, making climate education - including promoting it in Ethiopia’s higher education system more critical than ever.  

Although Ethiopia’s higher educational institutions have a massive role in combating the catastrophic effect of climate change, there is little emphasis on dealing with climate change among academic institutions, which systematically translates into multi-sectoral knowledge gap analysis and building the country’s future workforce capacity in climate knowledge for climate action in Ethiopia across the board. Where climate change is integrated into the university undergraduate curriculum, preliminary gap analysis in Ethiopia revealed that the existing higher education institutes programs often remained far behind the expected level of integration of Climate Change Education (Berhanu et al., 2022). In fact, the current educational strategic roadmap of Ethiopia, which has proposed critical courses for the first year of the undergraduate program in the country, failed to include the “Climate Basics” course that offers these students foundational climate science knowledge and tools needed to analyze climate-related risks while maximizing climate change opportunities (Berhanu et al., 2022).

In addition, where the climate is integrated into the undergraduate curriculum, the country’s education system lacks content knowledge and climate education investment; perhaps because most teachers did not learn about climate change in their schooling, they may avoid teaching the topic. So far, the investment and policy direction in education for climate change has not met the urgent demand despite its recognition at the international policy level. Article 12 of the Paris Agreement encourages nations to “enhance climate change education, training, public awareness, public participation and access to information” (UNFCCC, 2015).

Considering the unrelenting catastrophic impacts of extreme events on Ethiopia’s food system and economy in general, and the fact that Ethiopia is in the Greater Horn of Africa – a region most negatively impacted by climatic extremes and changes affecting millions, including farmers and livestock keepers -, there is a clear need to include “Climate Basics” in the first year of the undergraduate programs to all incoming students as a compulsory course to raise the understanding of Ethiopia’s future workforce on foundational climate science, knowledge, and tools that enable them to analyze climate-related risks while maximizing climate-induced opportunities (Berhanu et al., 2022). Addressing the impacts of devastating extreme weather events, climate variabilities, and changes in Ethiopia requires, among other things, strengthening the capacity of the future generation in climate information for climate action, including understanding anticipatory action, early warning, preparedness, and early action for climate-resilient development in the country.

Several global policymakers and authorities in the field of climate policy and education have recommended teaching climate change across all disciplines to address the many complexities of climate variability while providing opportunities to recognize social and scientific aspects and encourage both students and staff to engage with the challenges we are facing to promote research, to develop solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation and to take a leading role in the necessary public discourse (Nikendei, Cranz, and Bugaj, 2021). Considering the Ethiopian government’s emphasis on green growth and proactive policies and initiatives, the country and Ethiopia’s Ministry of Education and the country’s universities should be at the front of climate education and building climate-informed future workforce development for climate innovations. 

The IPCC identifies a range of education options to adapt to and mitigate climate change, including awareness raising and integration of climate change education in school curricula, gender equity in education, and various forms of adult and non-formal education, including extension services; sharing indigenous, traditional and local knowledge; participatory action research and social learning; knowledge sharing and learning platforms and disseminating information on hazards and vulnerability (IPCC,2014). There are also appealing experiences in implementing climate education in university programs. An excellent example of how to implement climate change topics in teaching and learning practices comes from the University of Dar ES Salaam in Tanzania. Their curriculum aims to allow every university student to obtain at least a basic understanding of climate change studies and sustainable development (UDSM, 2017). Ethiopia should look into these cases and calls of action and be the leader in the region and also in the continent in streamlining climate education to tackle the climate crisis, empower Ethiopia’s next generation with climate knowledge and build resilience.

There are several options to integrate climate change education under a university program based on the existing experience and practices, such as revamping, offering short courses, offering a standalone common course, and initiating a new program. The most preferred and transformative action, however, is the inclusion of “Climate Basics” as a standalone course for all incoming first-year students in Ethiopia. This pioneer and transformative action, both in the continent and globally, is expected to play a critical role in broadening the understanding of Ethiopia’s undergraduate students of various national, continental and international climate discourses, and also supporters, promoters and implementors of climate-friendly innovations to combat the vagaries of climate variability and change in the country and beyond. 

There is also a need to integrate Climate basics in Ethiopian curricula through the strong participation of the Ministry of Education, Universities, and multiple employing stakeholders. Hence, the workshop under the theme ‘’ Streamlining Climate Basics in Higher Education Curricula in Ethiopia‘’ is intended to participate stakeholders and streamline Climate education in Ethiopia in the undergraduate program as a common and compulsory course module. The workshop will be a joint activity organized by the Ministry of Education, AICCRA-ILRI and UNESCO-International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa.

Workshop Agenda



Speakers/ facilitators

08:00 – 09:00



09:00 – 09:10

Welcoming speech

Dr. Namukolo Covic – Director General’s Representative to Ethiopia, International Livestock Research Institute

09:10 – 09:20

Opening remarks

H.E. Dr. Samuel Kifle – President, Addis Ababa University

09:20 – 09:40

AICCRA: Overview

Dr. Dawit Solomon –Leader, AICCRA Ethiopia Country Program

09:40 – 10:00

Ethiopian Roadmap on Education Framework 

Hon. Dr. Eba Mijena – CEO, Ministry of Education

10:00 – 10:20

Climate and Policy: Ethiopia’s Perspectives

Mr. Mohammed Andoshe – Representative of State Minister, Ministry of Planning and Development

10:20 – 10:40

Global perspectives on the need for climate education

Dr. Quentin Wodon – Director, UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa


11:10 – 11:30

Continental perspectives on the need for climate education in Africa

Dr. Ernest Afiesimama - Regional Programme Manager, WMO Regional Office for Africa

11:30 – 11:50

National Perspectives: Need for Climate Education in Ethiopia

Mr. Fetene Teshome – Director-General, Ethiopian Meteorology Institute

11:50 – 12:10

National Perspectives: Need for Climate Education to tackle extreme events in Ethiopia

Dr. Tesfahun Asaminew – Representative to the Deputy Commissioner, National Disaster Risk Management Commission

12:10 – 12:30

National Perspectives: Need for Climate Education to Transform Ethiopian Agriculture

Hon. Dr. Chimdo Anchala – Director, Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Institute


13:30 – 13:50

Climate Basics in the Undergraduate Curriculum

Dr. Tadesse Terefe – Department Head at IGSSA, Addis Ababa University

13:50 – 14:10

Policy Brief on Climate basics streamlining in the undergraduate curriculum

Prof. Berhanu Belay – Senior Consultant, AICCRA-ILRI

14:10 – 15:30 PANEL DISCUSSION

15:30 – 16:00

The way forward and action plans

Dr. Dawit Solomon –Leader, AICCRA Ethiopia Country Program

16:00 – 16:15

Closing remarks

Hon. Dr. Eba Mijena/ Dr. Quentin Wodon - Ministry of Education /UNESCO


The workshop is an in-person gathering. Although there won't be livestreaming, there will be active social media engagement by organizing partners during and after the meeting.