First Graduate Certificate Program in Climate Change Education in Chile Taught for Teachers in Hualaihué

Published on Monday, 2 August 2021

  • The program is led by the academic faculty of the PUCV Center for Research in Didactics for Science and STEM Education, along with the San Ignacio del Huinay Foundation


Los Lagos Region, August 2, 2021.- Nearly 1,200 kilometers the separate town of Hualaihué from the Chilean capital of Santiago. In this remote town in southern Chile, the first graduate certificate program in “Climate Change Education” will be offered for local schoolteachers. This is the first initiative of its kind for teachers in the Chilean education system. This first version will be offered free of charge for 18 teachers from public and subsidized private schools in the town of Hualaihué and will conclude with five days of in-person work at the science station run by the San Ignacio de Huinay Foundation.

The graduate certificate program, which begins on Monday, August 9th, consists of 10 weeks of hybrid online and in-person classes. In the case of the in-person classes, these will be held at three different times: at the beginning of the program, during the sixth week, and at the end of the formative process.

“The Huinay Foundation is inserted within the town of Hualaihué, in the Los Lagos Region, and we knew we had to give additional value to the renowned research center. That is how the idea came about to train teachers in the community through this first graduate certificate program. We are convinced that this program will be a tool to aid the understanding of climate change and generate important changes from within schools and the local community,” explains Herman Chadwick, president of the Huinay Foundation.

This is a joint initiative between Enel Chile, the PUCV Academic Vice Rector's Office, the Center for Research in Didactics for Science and STEM Education (CIDSTEM) at PUCV and the San Ignacio del Huinay Foundation.

In this regard, President of the Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaiso (PUCV), Claudio Elórtegui, added that this is the first graduate certificate program of its kind to be taught on climate change in Chile for schoolteachers.

“There are multiple actions we can take to contribute to climate change, from using less plastic, reforesting, and promoting recycling, all of which are decisions that help mitigate the effects of global warming. It is important to expand our understanding of these phenomena, starting at the local level. In this sense, our University has always been known as a regional institution with national impact. The Huinay science station is part of our presence outside the Valparaiso Region. We are a regional university, with a public vocation at the service of other regions across Chile,” he affirms.

Meanwhile, professor for the Institute of Geography and general coordinator of the CIDSTEM Center, Andoni Arenas, says that they have great expectations for collaborating with the teachers from Hualaihué.

“The goal of working with teachers is for the Huinay Foundation and PUCV to contribute to the territory where we are researching. We are going to give the teachers a number of tools to understand what climate change is, how they can teach about it and take educational action with their students or neighboring communities to contribute to environmental protection,” he says.

The “Education in Climate Change” graduate certificate program has the academic objective of understanding Climate Change today, recognizing and identifying its causes, characterization, and impact, reflecting on educational practices and the role the school and community can take to mitigate and adapt to Climate Change and develop school initiatives to address these issues.

The team of CIDSTEM professors will include Corina González, Paulina Ampuero, Roberto Morales, Delia Cisternas, Valeria León, and Andoni Arenas. These professors will be responsible for executing this first graduate certificate program, which will conclude in October with the participants’ on-site work at the research station run by the San Ignacio del Huinay Foundation.

About the San Ignacio del Huinay Foundation

This non-profit foundation was inaugurated in 2001 by its founding partners: Enel Generación Chile (formerly Endesa Chile) and PUCV. The Foundation is located on a 34,000-hectare property in the area known as the Comau Fjord, in the Los Lagos Region.

The Huinay Foundation performs scientific research through an Observation Program that studies the Land and Aquatic Ecosystems of the Northern Chilean Patagonia to understand the structures and dynamics of the Patagonian ecosystems through scientific research projects, with the ultimate goal of placing their knowledge at the benefit of society. In the educational sphere, the Foundation organizes the annual Huinay Summer School with a theoretical/practical program based on scientific and technological training and scientific teaching in its different expressions.