A big challenge going forward is breaking the inertia of the status quo in education infrastructure.
Scaling up from inspirational bespoke designs to mass production requires finding ways of producing and quality assuring pre-fabricated natural material components at scale.
Such materials need to be usable by localized building teams who can integrate them into climate-smart, carbon- and learning-friendly designs.
Changes to how infrastructure is built and managed is just one element in how education responds to pressing climate, environmental and biodiversity challenges. Other areas include responding to changes in seasonality and how this impacts attendance and thereby curriculum coverage.
Despite the gloom there is hope as exciting innovations are being developed. For instance, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) is piloting an approach to manage climate-related school closures using artificial intelligence to predict where climate events are most likely to happen and ensuring funds are available through parametric insurance to deliver household-level cash transfers as well as remote education and child protection support.
With innovation and willingness to change, transformation is possible. However, that doesn’t always mean ‘new’ materials. There’s a lot to gain from traditional building technologies and applying these to hybrid designs that can also be taken to scale.
Read all the blogs in this series on climate change and education