Ozone education for new curriculum

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IN a move aimed at ‘catching them young’, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate has geared up its drive to impart educators with knowledge on ozone protection.
The new curriculum has brought many changes as it seeks to mould scholars who are not just academic parrots but individuals who can meaningfully contribute to society.
The inclusion of such subjects like Agriculture in Early Childhood Development (ECD), and primary levels is intended to have the young fully appreciating the importance of the subjects as they develop into young adults.
And stakeholders have also noted that its never too early to inculcate the importance of the environment and ways on how to protect it.
The Ozone Protection department in the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate (MEWC) engaged secondary and primary school teachers in a bid to find ways on how to convey the message of protecting the ozone layer at an early stage.
The aim of the department is to have learners educated more about the ozone layer and how best they can prevent damages for mother planet to be safe.
According to the website weather facts: “Ozone layer is a layer in the earth’s stratosphere at an altitude of about 10 km (6.2 miles) containing a high concentration of ozone, which absorbs most of the Ultraviolet (UV) radiation reaching the earth from the sun.”
Without the ozone layer (a blanket like layer) that protects the earth from direct sun, living conditions would be harsh.
UV rays can also damage the eyes as more than 99 percent of UV radiation is absorbed by the front of the eyes.
Corneal damage, cataracts and macular degeneration are all possible chronic effects from UV exposure that can ultimately lead to blindness.
Melanoma, a type of skin cancer, can also develop within the eye.
The acting director-climate change management, Tirivanhu Muhwati reiterated that ozone layer depletion and global warming are closely interlinked but are different global environmental problems.
“Global warming occurs when chemicals, such as greenhouse gases, are released into the atmosphere causing a chemical reaction to take place in the ozone layer that breaks up the ozone molecules. It is therefore important that as educators, you are equipped with the correct information on these issues so that you properly disseminate this information to learners and the public at large,” Muhwati said.
“These global environmental challenges are affecting humanity at an unprecedented rate.”
Muhwati further explained steps the country is taking to protect the ozone.
“Ozone layer depletion and global warming or climate change are both caused by human activities as a result of the desire to improve their socio-economic wellbeing.
“The solutions to these environmental challenges therefore depend on human intervention measures.
“The international community has stepped up measures to address these challenges and Zimbabwe is actively participating in these intervention measures.”
The attempts to engage scholars are not knew as efforts to increase their appreciation of the environment have been ongoing.
“MWEC has had the Annual Ozone Schools Competitions (AOSC), since the 1990s, meant to educate the pupils on the ozone layer.
“The number of entries in the schools competitions has been increasing and I am happy to note that Harare Province has participated consistently over the years. A number of pupils and schools from this province have won prizes since the inception of the schools competitions. I hope after this awareness workshop, we are going to witness an increase in the number and quality of the entries.
“As the recovering of the ozone layer is to be achieved by 2023, the MEWC gathered teachers and empowered them with techniques on how to teach early childhood development learners creating an zone protection mentality at an early age.”
Speaking to The Patriot on condition of anonymity, a representative from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MOPSE) emphasised the need to have learners taught about ozone layer and start knowing what must be done to protect it.
“More information about the ozone by way of road shows, drama and even choir competition will draw interest for them to participate fully,” said the official.
“The department has suggested books that simplify terms and explanations that learners from Early Childhood Development (ECD) , primary and secondary can easily relate to and understand.
“We believe there is need to come down to the level scholars can understand these lessons about the ozone layer if they are to continue safeguarding the ozone layer by using eco-friendly fuels.
“Annual Ozone Schools Competitions have been there and now it is time to introduce other activities that will involve various disciplines in both Primary and secondary schools.”
Technology innovations are improving day-by-day and countries are being encouraged to opt for eco-friendly technology that does not harm the ozone layer.
“Excessive sun exposure is associated with several health risks, including the acceleration of skin aging and the promotion of skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma,” said the official.
World Ozone Day celebrations will be held on September 16.

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