Crisis in teaching future generations about fungi

David Moore

    Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


    Readers of Mycological Research will be well aware that mycology has never been as important as it is today, and that this is an exciting time to be studying the enormous diversity, functions, and roles of fungi. We know that fungi play essential roles in the environment, in human nutrition and health, and serve as indispensable model organisms in basic biological research. We might expect that our biological colleagues were equally aware of these facts, and that any educational presentation of ‘‘biology’’ would include a balanced description of prokaryotes (bacteria and archea), eukaryotic protists, and fungal, animal, and plant biology. After all, leave out any of these components and the story of life on Earth is incomplete and defective. But when your children walk into school, do you know what the developers of the school curriculum have decided they should be taught? What we know about school curricula in our countries implies that most children get an incomplete and defective story of life on Earth in school because fungi are simply not included in the curriculum. How can we foster an interest in fungi if generations of schoolchildren are kept in ignorance of them? The purpose of this note is to ask mycologists around the world to study their school curricula and tell us what the situation is like in their countries.It is evident, for example, that in the UK, the academics who developed the National Curriculum do not know much about fungi. Children in the UK, from primary level onwards, are taught about bacteria, animals, and plants. No fungi. In England alone, more than one million children each year complete their statutory National Curriculum with no knowledge of kingdom Fungi (Moore et al. 2005).
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalMycological Research
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


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