Should UK schools teach children about flood warnings?

December 13, 2007 at 12:57 pm

How much should the UK know about the causes of flooding and flood defences? Before the floods that drowned the country this year, the answer to that question might have been different. There isn’t a single cause for what happened across the UK in June and July, although some are quite quick to point the finger at global warming. However, causes aren’t always particularly important or relevant with natural disasters. What is more pertinent are the ways in which we can prepare, educate ourselves and subsequently cope with the repercussions. So is it now the time to start teaching our children about flood defences in school?

In the Assam area of India, where flooding on a mass scale is a regular problem, a project called Disaster Risk Reduction Through Schools Project (DRR) has been set up by Action Aid and after just 3 months children are vastly more knowledgeable about causes and flood prevention measures.

Early in the summer of 2007, the UK government gave schools around £24 million to repair flooded areas and to try and get them ready for their start of term in September. That said, could the pupils at these schools one day be able to prevent such large scale destruction by being taught more about the matter?

There is no doubt that the pupils at the schools in the Assam region of India, along with many other flood-prone countries of the world in Asia and Africa, are much more experienced with flooding and its aftermath. However, these children are being taught why flooding actually occurs, in relation to many different areas from deforestation to global warming. Although they still fear flooding, at least they understand it better.

A primary school teacher from Scarborough, Pat Gardner, visited the Assam region and saw these projects and the teaching about flooding. In response, she claimed, “What’s happening in Assam can be used to illustrate all parts of the curriculum.” It might be time to educate our children on subjects that look at how world is changing and how we are all affecting it.

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