COP26: FutureLearn commits to building world’s biggest online climate curriculum

As the world assembles in Glasgow for COP26, the digital education platform says it is “well on the way” to making good its vision

As the COP26 summit continues in Glasgow, a digital education platform has plans to create the largest online fount of climate change knowledge on the planet.

FutureLearn is “dedicated to increasing access to education in order to build a better world for all,” said Ian McIlwain, the course provider’s director of development and partnerships.

“We aim to play our part, both now and beyond the COP26 summit, by building the world’s most comprehensive online climate curriculum on one platform.

“This is an ambitious goal that we’re already well on our way to achieving by partnering with a number of the world’s leading learning institutions and organisations in the field, from the Open University, to Samsung, the National Oceanography Centre, the Universities of Edinburgh and Exeter, Institut Français de la Mode, and more.”

FutureLearn has previous when it comes to offering educational help in tackling the biggest issues. In February last year, back when Covid had claimed but three lives in countries beyond China, it launched a free online programme to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

There is an ever-urgent imperative to enable each corner of the world to learn how we can continue to play our part in pushing for climate action – Ian McIlwain, FutureLearn

A couple of months later, in the midst of a wide-ranging chat with ET about the digital sector’s response to the pandemic, the company’s then CEO, Simon Nelson, told us that “the economic impacts of climate change alone are going to be so big that every business will have to rethink itself”.

And that, according to McIlwain, is something that will only come through learning.

“Climate change is a worldwide issue of the utmost urgency that cannot be solved without access to the right information, the right tools, and the right skills,” he said.

“Education has a vital role to play in this; we will always need the brightest of academic minds forging the way towards new sustainable solutions, but we also need to make that knowledge far more accessible to people on a global scale.

“There is an ever-urgent imperative to enable each corner of the world to learn how we – as both individuals and organisations – can continue to play our part in pushing for climate action, as well as understanding how we can each take steps towards a greener future.”

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