Understanding the impact of climate change on Bhutanese school communities: Challenges and responses
Ramesh Thapa 1 * , Annette Gough 1 , Grant Cooper 2
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1 RMIT University, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA2 Curtin University, Perth, AUSTRALIA* Corresponding Author

Abstract

Climate change is intensifying the risks faced by children’s lives, as well as impacting their learning and education. How school communities in Bhutan are dealing with issues related to climate change is largely uncharted. This study examined how Bhutanese schools have been affected by the changing climate and how they were responding to it. The data sources included interviews with school principals, teachers, and district education officers, as well as observations, and document analysis. The global comprehensive school safety framework, along with a whole school approach to climate action framed the results of this study. Findings included that schools experienced multiple climate impacts and shocks affecting their children’s health, education, and the school system itself. Adaptation and mitigation measures including climate change education have yet to gain traction at the sector and school’s level. Schools, however, have attempted some actions such as through disaster management, and participatory environmental conservation and green school initiatives. Social capital was critical in filling the resource gap for initiating environmental and climate change actions, carried out through collective school, community, and student-based activities. Human capacities, policy and institutional structures, technical capacities, and capital (cultural and economic) constraints as well as slow mainstreaming into local development processes impeded efforts to build climate-resilient schools, including practices to contribute to greenhouse gases reduction. This study not only shed light on how climate change was affecting schools and children but also provided strong evidence for policymakers and relevant agencies to scale up interventions to enhance adaptation and mitigation practices.

License

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

INTERDISCIP J ENV SCI ED, Volume 20, Issue 3, 2024, Article No: e2413

https://doi.org/10.29333/ijese/14692

Publication date: 01 Jul 2024

Online publication date: 11 Jun 2024

Article Views: 83

Article Downloads: 48

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