Addressing Climate Change at a Much Younger Age Than just at the Decision-Making Level: Perceptions from Primary School Teachers in Fiji

  • Peni Hausia HaveaEmail author
  • Apenisa Tamani
  • Anuantaeka Takinana
  • Antoine De Ramon N’ Yeurt
  • Sarah L. Hemstock
  • Hélène Jacot Des Combes
Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)


This study uses an explanatory design to investigate the role of primary education in addressing climate change in primary schools in Fiji. A self-administered questionnaire (N = 30) was conducted with primary school teachers from 14 primary schools in Fiji. Using frequency analysis, all teachers perceived that addressing climate change at a much younger age is more effective than just addressing it at the decision-making level. Furthermore, a Kendall tau-b was performed, and identified a significant correlation between the primary school teachers’ location and recommendations for further training on climate change (τb = .59, p < .001) and work relevance and climate evaluation (τb = .6, p < .001). The same factors (e.g. work relevancy, helping primary education adapt to climate change, etc.) were explored qualitatively using desktop review, literature search and found addressing climate change at a much younger age to be significant. These results are expected to perfect not only the role of primary education but to contribute significantly to the achievements of a climate-resilient Fiji by 2030 and beyond.


Pacific Climate change Primary education Policy Teachers Resilience 



The SPC/GIZ CCCPIR Programme in Suva supported this research, The University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji, the School of Humanities (Geography), at Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln, UK and the Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.


  1. Ahdoot S (2015) Address causes of climate change to help alleviate effects on children: AAP. AAP News, USAGoogle Scholar
  2. Akrofi MM, Antwi SH, Gumbo JR (2019) Students in climate action: a study of some influential factors and implications of knowledge gaps in Africa. Environments 6(12):1–15Google Scholar
  3. Bibi Abdullah J, Kassim J (2012) Promoting learning environment among the Islamic school principals in the state of Pahang, Malaysia. Multicultural Edu Tech J 6(2):100–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bible Society of the South Pacific (1966) Koe Tohi Tapu Katoa (the Holy Bible in Tongan). The Bible Society in the South Pacific, SuvaGoogle Scholar
  5. Bissessar AM (2017) Ethnic conflict in developing societies: Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Fiji and Suriname. Springer, SwitzerlandCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bloom PJ, Hentschel A, Bella J (2010) A great place to work: creating a healthy organizational climate. New Horizons, LakeForest, ILGoogle Scholar
  7. Buckland P, Goodstein E, Alexander R, Muchnick B, Mallia ME, Leary N, Andrejewski R, Barsom S (2018) The challenge of coordinated civic climate change education. J Environ Stud Sci 8(2):169–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft (2017) World risk report analysis and prospects 2017. Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft, Berlin, GermanyGoogle Scholar
  9. Bynoe P, Simmons S (2014) An appraisal of climate change education at the primary level in Guyana. Caribb Geogr 19:89–103Google Scholar
  10. Chand SS, Walsh KJE (2009) Tropical cyclone activity in the Fiji Region: spatial patterns and relationship to large-scale circulation. J Clim 22(14):3877–3893CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chang C (2012) The changing climate of teaching and learning school geography: the case of Singapore. Int Res Geogr Environ Edu 21(4):283–295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Creswell JW (2013) Qualitative inquiry and research design: choosing among five approaches. Sage, United State of AmericaGoogle Scholar
  13. Creswell JW (2014) Research design. Sage, Los AngelesGoogle Scholar
  14. Creswell JW, Plano Clark VL (2011) Designing and conducting mixed methods research, 2nd edn. Sage, United State of AmericaGoogle Scholar
  15. Cronk B (2017) How to use SPSS—a step-by-step guide to analysis and interpretation, 9th edn. Routledge, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dalelo A (2011) Global climate change in geography curricula for Ethiopian secondary and preparatory schools. Int Res Geogr Environ Edu 20(3):227–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. (2018) Should climate change be taught in schools? USA. Retrieved from 28 Nov 2018
  18. Department of Environment (1997) Convention on biological diversity: 1997 national report to the conference of the parties. Ministry of Local Government, Housing and Environment, Suva, FijiGoogle Scholar
  19. Education Policy and Data Center (2014) Fiji. EPDC, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  20. Erricker J (2009) The importance of happiness to children’s education and wellbeing. In: de Souza M, Francis LJ, O’Higgins-Norman J, Scott D (eds) International handbook of education for spirituality, care and wellbeing. Springer, The Netherlands, Dordrecht, pp 739–752CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Farmer P (2005) Pathologies of power: health, human rights, and the new war on the poor. University of California Press, USAGoogle Scholar
  22. Fiji Bureau of Statistics (2007) Relationship ethnicity and religion by province of enumeration Fiji 2007. Fiji Bureau of Statistics, Suva, FijiGoogle Scholar
  23. Government of Fiji (2013) Constitution of the Republic of Fiji. Gov Fiji 14(80):2747–2840Google Scholar
  24. Government of Fiji (2018) COP23. Government of Fiji: Fiji. Retrieved from 29 Nov 2018
  25. Government of Vanuatu (2015) Vanuatu: post-disaster needs assessment (tropical cyclone Pam, March 2015). Government of Vanuatu, VanuatuGoogle Scholar
  26. Hammersley-Fletcher L (2008) The impact of workforce remodelling on change management and working practices in english primary schools. Sch Leadersh Manage 28(5):489–503CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Harmon A (2017) A sense of duty to teach climate change. The New York Times, USA. Retrieved from 28 Nov 2018
  28. Havea PH, Hemstock SL, Des Combes JH (2017) Preparing for better livelihoods, health and well-being—a key to climate change adaptation. In: Leal Filho W (ed) Climate change adaptation in pacific countries: fostering resilience and improving the quality of life. Springer, Cham, pp. 87–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Havea PH, Hemstock SL, Jacot Des Combes, H (2018a) God and Tonga are my inheritance!—climate change impact on perceived spirituality, adaptation and lessons learnt from Kanokupolu, Ahau, Tukutonga, Popua and Manuka in Tongatapu, Tonga. In: Leal Filho W (ed) Climate change impacts and adaptation strategies for coastal communities—climate change management. Springer, ChamGoogle Scholar
  30. Havea PH, Hemstock SL, Jacot Des Combes H (2018b) Improving health and well-being through climate change adaptation. In: Duncan LT (ed) Advances in health and disease, vol 4. Nova Science Publisher, Hauppauge, NY, pp. 215–230Google Scholar
  31. Henderson J, Long D, Berger P, Russell C, Drewes A (2017) Expanding the foundation: climate change and opportunities for educational research. J Am Edu Stud Assoc 53(4):412–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Henderson J, Mouza C (2018) Professional development design considerations in climate change education: teacher enactment and student learning. Int J Sci Edu 40(1):67–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hestness E, McGinnins JR, Riedinger K, Marbach-Ad G (2011) A study of teacher candidates’ experiences investigating global climate change within an elementary science methods course. J Sci Teacher Educ 22(4):351–369CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Howells K (2010) Making sense of bible prophecy. Lulu, European UnionGoogle Scholar
  35. Iqbal A (2010) Employee turnover: causes, consequences and retention strategies in Saudi Organizations. Bus Rev 16(2):275–282Google Scholar
  36. Karpudewan M, Roth W-M, Abdullah MNSB (2015) Enhancing primary school students’ knowledge about global warming and environmental attitude using climate change activities. Int J Sci Edu 37(1):31–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lambert JL, Bleicher RE (2013) Climate change in the preservice teacher’s mind. J Sci Teacher Educ 24(6):999–1022CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lata S, Nunn P (2012) Misperceptions of climate-change risk as barriers to climate-change adaptation: a case study from the Rewa Delta. Fiji. Clim Change 110(1–2):169–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Ledley TS, Rooney-Varga JN, Niepold F (2017). Addressing climate change through education. Oxford Res Encycl Environ Sci. (Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK)Google Scholar
  40. Lenti Boero D, Clerici T, Perrucci V (2009) Children and marmots: a pilot study in mountain primary schools. Ethology Ecol Evol 21(3–4):415–427CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lewis A (2015) WordWeb Pro. WordWeb Software, Princeton University, USAGoogle Scholar
  42. Luetz J, Havea PH (2018) We’re not refugees, and we’ll stay here until we die!—climate change adaptation and migration experiences gathered from the Tulun and Nissan Atolls of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. In: Leal Filho W (ed) Climate change impacts and adaptation strategies to coastal communities. Springer, SwitzerlandGoogle Scholar
  43. Luetz JM, Buxton G, Bangert K (2018) Christian theological, hermeneutical and eschatological perspectives on environmental sustainability and creation care—the role of holistic education. In: Luetz JM, Dowden T, Norsworthy B (eds) Reimagining Christian education—cultivating transformative approaches. Springer, SingaporeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Maeke J (2013) Vulnerability and impacts of climate change on food crops in rainsed atoll communities: a case study of Bellona community in Solomon Islands. In: Master of science in climate change master thesis. The University of the South Pacific, FijiGoogle Scholar
  45. Magee AD, Verdon-Kidd DC, Kiem AS, Royle SA (2016) Tropical cyclone perceptions, impacts and adaptation in the Southwest Pacific: an urban perspective from Fiji, Vanuatu and Tonga. Nat. Hazards Earth Syst Sci (16):1091–1105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Ministry of Education (1978) Education act. Ministry of Education, Suva, FijiGoogle Scholar
  47. Ministry of Education, H. a. A (2016) Annual report. Ministry of Education, Suva, FijiGoogle Scholar
  48. Nagy GJ, Cabrera C, Coronel G, Aparicio-Effen M, Arana I, Lairet R, Villamizar A (2017) Addressing climate adaptation in education, research and practice: the CLiVIA-network. Int J Clim Change Strat Manage 9(4):469–487CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Nasiko R (2018) Climate change in ECE plans. The Times of Fiji, Suva, FijiGoogle Scholar
  50. Nunn PD, Mulgrew K, Scott-Parker B, Hine DW, Marks ADG, Mahar D, Maebuta J (2016) Spirituality and attitudes towards nature in the Pacific islands: insights for enabling climate-change adaptation. Clim Change 136(3):477–493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Oxfam (2015) Climate challenge for 7–11 years. Oxfam, UK. Retrieved from 29 Oct 2018
  52. Oxford University Press (2019) English Oxford living dictionary. Oxford University Press, UK. Retrieved from 16 Jan 2019
  53. Özdem Y, Dal B, Öztürk N, Sönmez D, Alper U (2014) What is that thing called climate change? An investigation into the understanding of climate change by seventh-grade students. Int Res Geogr Environ Edu 23(4):294–313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Pacific Community, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, and University of the South Pacific (2016) Framework for resilience development in the Pacific: an integrated approach to address climate change and disaster risk management (FRDP) 2017–2030. The Pacific Community, Geoscience Division, Suva, FijiGoogle Scholar
  55. Pacific Community (SPC) (2012). Fiji country energy security indicator profile 2009. Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Suva, FijiGoogle Scholar
  56. Reardon GF, Oliver J (1983) The impact of cyclone Isaac on buildings of Tonga. J Wind Eng Ind Aerodyn 14(1–3):67–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. S. Mesquita P, Bursztyn M (2016) Integration of social protection and climate change adaptation in Brazil. Br Food J 118(12):3030–3043Google Scholar
  58. Santos GMMC, Ferreira PJSG, Reis MJCS (2008) Promoting the educative use of the internet in Portuguese primary schools: a case study. Aslib Proc 60(2):111–129Google Scholar
  59. Satchwell C (2013) Carbon literacy practices: textual footprints between school and home in children’s construction of knowledge about climate change. Local Environ 18(3):289–304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Schwarts BM, Wilson JH, Goff DM (2015) An easyguide to research design and SPSS. Sage, USAGoogle Scholar
  61. SPC and GIZ (2016) Coping with climate change in the Pacific Island region (CCCPIR) annual report—Vanuatu programme 2016. SPC-GIZ, VanuatuGoogle Scholar
  62. SPC/GIZ (2018) CCCPIR Component 5—climate change education. Suva, Fiji: SPC/GIZGoogle Scholar
  63. Surji K (2013) The negative effect and consequences of employee turnover and retention on the organization and its staff. Eur J Bus Manage 5(25):52–65Google Scholar
  64. The Bible Society in Australia (1988) Good news bible, Australian edn. The Bible Society, Canberra in AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  65. Thomalla F, Djalante R (2012) Disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in Indonesia: Institutional challenges and opportunities for integration. Int J Disaster Resilience Built Environ 3(2):166–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Tsaliki E (2017) Teachers’ views on implementing intercultural education in Greece: the case of 13 primary schools. Int J Comp Edu Dev 19(2/3):50–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. UN CC: Learn (2013) Resource guide for advanced learning on integrating climate change in education at primary and secondary level. United Nations Institute for Training and Research, SwitzerlandGoogle Scholar
  68. UNDP (2015) Sustainable development goals (SDGs). UNDP, USAGoogle Scholar
  69. UNESCO (2006) Pacific education for sustainable development framework. UNESCO, FijiGoogle Scholar
  70. UNESCO (2017a) Education for sustainable development goals: learning objectives. UNESCO, Paris, FranceGoogle Scholar
  71. UNESCO (2017b) National commissions for UNESCO—annual report 2017. UNESCO, Paris, FranceGoogle Scholar
  72. Usman LM (2008) Assessing the universal basic education primary and Koranic schools’ synergy for Almajiri street boys in Nigeria. Int J Ed Manage 22(1):62–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Van Dam K, Damen MAW, Sanders JMAF (2015) Are positive learning experiences levers for lifelong learning among low educated workers? Evid Based HRM Glob Forum Empirical Sch 3(3):244–257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Verlie B (2018) From action to intra-action? Agency, identity and ‘goals’ in a relational approach to climate change education. Environ Edu Res. (London, UK: Routledge)Google Scholar
  75. Vines K, O’Toole D, Lee C, Jacobs B (2014) Integrated regional vulnerability assessment of government services to climate change. Int J Clim Change Strat Manage 6(3):272–295Google Scholar
  76. Vogel C, Schwaibold U, Misser S (2015) Teaching and learning for climate change—the role of teacher materials and curriculum design in South Africa. South Afr J Environ Edu 31:78–97Google Scholar
  77. Walshe RA, Chang Seng D, Bumpus A, Auffray J (2018) Perceptions of adaptation, resilience and climate knowledge in the Pacific: the cases of Samoa, Fiji and Vanuatu. Int J Climate Change Strat Manage 10(2):303–322CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. WHO (2015) Human health and climate change in Pacific Island countries. World Health Organisation, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  79. Woodroffe CD (1983). The impact of Cyclone Isaac on the coast of Tonga, vol 37, no 3. University of Hawaii Press, pp 181–210Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peni Hausia Havea
    • 1
    Email author
  • Apenisa Tamani
    • 2
  • Anuantaeka Takinana
    • 3
  • Antoine De Ramon N’ Yeurt
    • 1
  • Sarah L. Hemstock
    • 4
  • Hélène Jacot Des Combes
    • 5
  1. 1.PaCE-SDUSPSuvaFiji
  2. 2.Deutsche Gesellschaft Für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbHSuvaFiji
  3. 3.Graduate School of Global Environmental StudiesKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan
  4. 4.School of HumanitiesBishop Grosseteste UniversityLincolnUK
  5. 5.National Disaster Management OfficeGovernment of Marshall IslandsMajuroRepublic of the Marshall Islands

Personalised recommendations