Education for Global Citizenship

Having been involved in global education and human rights education for a few decades, it is frustrating to see school curricular having to squeeze out key areas of knowledge and skills which help young people to be more adaptable, tolerant and problem solvers. These key areas do not have to be discreet subjects but should be infused across the curriculum to inoculate young people for the future.

Education for Global Citizenship
(Margaret Sinclair; Education Above All)

It is difficult to watch a bulletin of world news without concluding that there is a need for much improved education to prepare people worldwide to address the numerous problems confronting humanity at this time. Citizenship education aims to prepare students to play an active and positive role in their dealings with school, family, society and globally.

Unfortunately, school curricula often contribute to the tensions underlying civil conflict. The book gives examples of initiatives to build competencies for local, national and global citizenship, including respect for diversity –a critical need in many post-conflict countries and fragile states.

Analysis indicates that serious and sustainable initiatives in this field should be:

  • Embedded in policy, with wide stakeholder buy-in;
  • Long term and sustainable;
  • Holistic, including the various sub-topics in a systematic way;
  • Reinforced in each year of schooling and preferably in the wider society;
  • Covering the local, national and global dimensions;
  • Supported by pre-service and continuing in-service training of teachers;
  • Developed and sustained in collaboration with local communities;
  • Scalable with maintenance of quality;
  • With feedback from monitoring and evaluation processes;
  • Based on collaborative arrangements that ensure expertise over the longer term;
  • With provision for periodic review and renewal.

To access the publication, click here.


In Focus: Conflict and Education

The INEE produces an Education and Fragility Monthly Newsletter , which is a mine of information: such as :

Human Security Research Issue: “In Focus: Conflict and Education”
(Human Security Gateway)

This monthly compilation of significant new human security-related research focuses on Conflict and Education and includes research published by academics, university research institutes, think-thanks, international agencies, and NGOs. Some resources included in this issue are:
Click here to access the full newsletter issue      (Human Security Gateway newsletter not INEE)

International Youth Day – 12th August 2012

International Youth Day – 12th August 2012

“The international community must continue to work together to expand the horizons of opportunity for these young women and men and answer their legitimate demands for dignity, development and decent work. Failing to invest in our youth is a false economy. Investments in young people will pay great dividends in a better future for all.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Message for International Youth Day 2011

Each year, International Youth Day (IYD) is assigned a theme; a conceptual slogan that communicates the scope, direction, and objectives of the year’s youth initiatives and also provides a unifying banner from under which individuals can draw the inspiration to take action. This year’s International Youth Day will represent the culmination of the International Year of Youth (IYY) – designated by the United Nations to comprise the 12 month period between IYD 2010 and IYD 2011 – and the 25th Anniversary of the first International Year of Youth.

As such, “Change Our World” has been chosen as the theme for IYD 2011 as it not only expresses the level of impact that young people strive to achieve, but also reflects the notion of a global community that is a core principle of the United Nations.

“Change Our World” is meant to be a call to inspire youth initiatives at all levels with the idea that efforts at the local level can have a global impact. Youth are well attuned to modern forms of communication that have the capacity to connect people from all over the world with ease, and at an unprecedented speed. UNPY encourages the use of social media & networking tools as platforms for raising awareness and promoting activities, empowering youth, and enabling them to quite literally change our world.

It should be stressed that “Change Our World” is a call for continual, long lasting progress in areas of societal development that concern youth. Therefore, while the support of the private sector, governments, and civil society organisations is important, what’s most necessary is that young people be actively involved and that they claim ownership of this positive effort.

LINK: International Year of Youth

IYD forms part of the UN’s wider World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY), an initiative that aims to promote the wellbeing and livelihood of young people.

Its 15 priority areas include: education, employment, poverty and hunger, the environment, drug abuse, juvenile delinquency, leisure-time activities, health, girls and young women, HIV/AIDS, information and communications technology, inter-generational issues, armed conflict, the mixed impact of globalisation, and the full and effective participation of youth in society and in decision-making.

Classrooms in the Crosshairs

In light of the International Day of Peace on 21 st September, it is necessary to reflect on war and its effects on education and children. Read the following report on how schools are use and misused during conflict in Yemen:

Classrooms in the Crosshairs: Military Use of Schools in Yemen’s Capital
Human Rights Watch

This 46-page report details the occupation of schools by government security forces, militias, and opposition armed groups, risking the lives and education of tens of thousands of students. Forces on both sides used schools as barracks, bases, surveillance posts, and firing positions. Combatants also stored weapons and ammunition, detained prisoners, and in some cases tortured or otherwise abused detainees on school grounds or in school buildings.

To download publication, click here.

Education First – a new UN initiative. launch – 26th September 2012

This is the first time that a United Nations Secretary-General has made education a priority. It is an historic decision that recognizes the power of education to transform lives and build more sustainable, peaceful and prosperous societies. I am proud that the Secretary-General turned to UNESCO to play a lead role in shaping this Initiative and taking it forward.”Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General

Education First is a five-year initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to ensure quality, relevant and transformative education for everyone. Global advocacy at the highest level, it aims to get the world back on track to meeting its education commitments.

In the Secretary-General’s own words, “when we put Education First, we can reduce poverty and hunger, end wasted potential – and look forward to stronger and better societies for all.”

The three priorities of Education First are:

  • putting every child into school
  • improving the quality of learning
  •  fostering global citizenship

The personal commitment and convening power of the UN Secretary-General sends the message that education is not simply a moral imperative; it is the single best investment nations can make to build prosperous, healthy and equitable societies.  By rallying together a broad spectrum of actors, including governments, donor nations, the business community, philanthropic organizations and the media, the Initiative will put education at the heart of the social, political and development agenda, so together, we can reach the goals we have set for ourselves.

Ministy of Education, Colombia


Education First aims to galvanize governments and all other sectors of society into action on education, to get all children into school, to make sure they learn, and that what they learn is relevant for addressing today’s global challenges.

The initiative will unite the agencies and programmes of the UN system, governments, business leaders and civil society in a concerted effort to put education back on track. The initiative will focus on three priorities: access to education, quality of education and education for global citizenship.

In 2000, 189 of the world’s nations pledged to achieve universal primary education by 2015. It was the second of eight Millennium Development Goals aimed at freeing people from poverty and multiple deprivations. Although significant progress has been made, the latest data shows a clear slow-down. Without a major effort, there is a real danger that more children will be out-of-school in 2015 than today.

A post script – there is still much discussion about represents QUALITY in education -it often is described in financial terms in that if we spend more then the quality should improve.This isn not always the case -a big barrier to overcome is the attitudes of parents, teachers and often the students themselves. We now live in a different age where the content of the curriculum is not able to keep up with changes in knowledge (take new advances in health, in mobile technology, in astronomy, in research on the brain and learning) we now need tsudents to possess a different range of skills and the ducation systems worldwide are still struggling to keep up. More on this later….

Proposed Competencies for Learning Outcomes: Early Childhood, Primary, and Post-Primary


Proposed Competencies for Learning Outcomes: Early Childhood, Primary, and Post-Primary


The Education for All (EFA) goals initiated in 1990 in Jomtien, Thailand demonstrated a commitment to meeting basic learning needs. This commitment was restated in 2000 in the Dakar Framework for Action, in which Goal 6 states; “Improving every aspect of the quality of education, and ensuring their excellence so that recognized and measurable learning outcomes are achieved by all, especially in literacy, numeracy and essential life skills”. Yet today there is growing evidence suggesting that millions of children and youth do not have the basic skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in school and life. Since 2000, there have been extraordinary gains in access to education.However, many of those who do complete the education cycle do not finish with the skills needed to fully participate in society and the economy. The true cost to society is impossible to measure within current assessment systems. While international assessments are used to compare learning across countries, they do not include the majority of the world’s children living in low- and low-middle-income countries, particularly the most vulnerable children and youth. Other multi-country assessments are conducted following approaches that prevent their results from being pooled into a unique set of equivalent evidence.

Global Compact on Learning

The Global Compact on Learning consultation process presents a unique opportunity to have a voice in the global education agenda and policy discourse. It is  hoped that through this exercise, the GCL can begin to capture the diversity of perspectives across the education community. To take part in this consultation process get more information from  here.

International Day of Peace – September 21

I was speaking to my friend Jim, saying that for decades we have been working in education, with one of the  objectives being to provide opportunities for young people to live peacefully together for the safety of themselves and for the sutainability of our planet. I was getting quite pessimistic about the ‘rule of the gun’ and how arms are so easily obtained and how civilians are the biggest casualty in conflicts these days. Jim was a bit more optimistic quoting some statistics about the improving situation with regards to globally. We will continue to discuss and act for a beter future. In the meantime -it may just be one day but the International Day of Peace at least allows some to reflect on how to build a more peaceful and sustainable future.

“Let us work together to ensure that the Road from Rio leads us to sustainable development, sustainable peace… and a secure future for all.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Towards the ideals of peace

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

Sustainable Peace…

This year, world leaders, together with civil society, local authorities and the private sector, will be meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to renew political commitment to long term sustainable development.

It is in the context of the Rio+20 Conference that “Sustainable Peace for a Sustainable Future” is the theme chosen for this year’s observance of the International day of Peace.

There can be no sustainable future without a sustainable peace. Sustainable peace must be built on sustainable development.

…From Sustainable Development…

The root causes of many conflicts are directly related to or fuelled by valuable natural resources, such as diamonds, gold, oil, timber or water. Addressing the ownership, control and management of natural resources is crucial to maintaining security and restoring the economy in post-conflict countries.

Good natural resource management can play a central role in building sustainable peace in post-conflict societies.

…For a Sustainable Future

The International Day of Peace offers people globally a shared date to think about how, individually, they can contribute to ensuring that natural resources are managed in a sustainable manner, thus reducing  potential for disputes, and paving the road to a sustainable future, the “Future We Want“.

During the discussion of the U.N. Resolution that established the International Day of Peace, it was suggested that:

“Peace Day should be devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples…This day will serve as a reminder to all peoples that our organization, with all its limitations, is a living instrument in the service of peace and should serve all of us here within the organization as a constantly pealing bell reminding us that our permanent commitment, above all interests or differences of any kind, is to peace.”

Scientists call for more research on Peace


On International Day of Peace (21 September), some scientists are calling for more research on peacekeeping and closer collaboration with their Southern partners.

“We conceive of peace not as some ethically consigned abstraction, but as a theme that is also accessible to scientific research,” Laurent Goetschel, professor of political science at the University of Basel and Director of the Swiss Peace Foundation, swisspeace, whose strapline is ‘Knowledge for Peace’, told SciDev.Net.

One way of doing research on peace is to apply the methodology of science to understanding the processes that lead to peace, according to Goetschel, who also spoke about the issue at the 3rd International Conference on Research for Development last month (20–22 August).

“‘We can look at the causes of conflict, be they economic, political, historical, legal or whatever. We can also look at models for making forecasts, so we’re talking about political early warning. swisspeace has developed an early-warning programme called FAST, which was developed after the Rwanda Burundi massacres.”

The system uses event data analysis to collect, sequence and analyse news agency articles and has been used in around 25 countries.

“We didn’t have enough news items for many of these regions, since conflict-prone regions are often places where there is not much media interest except in relation to conflict situations. So we established local information networks to help us.”

A criticism of this approach, modelling based on news reports, is that it has not yet prevented a conflict, though, and Laurent Goetschel is the first to admit this failing.

“The problem is that science is often too late. We generate knowledge which comes after things have happened. You have these mechanisms working at the scientific level but practitioners expect quick answers to concrete questions, and from a scientific point of view this is often rather difficult.'”

But Goetschel said that despite the difficulties, more can and should be done to research issues around peacekeeping.

“We need research programmes which do research in conflict areas, after all the object of peace research is to be applied. We need more capacity — whether it be in Central Asia or in Sub–Saharan countries. This is the big challenge. My message to researchers working on peace in these countries is that they should do consultancies to survive — but remain scientific in their hearts.”

His words are echoed by Susan Wolfinbarger, director of the Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project, a part of the Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program at the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Her group has successfully used geospatial technology to document human rights abuses around the world, especially in remote or dangerous locations; one example wasEyes on Darfur, in which the group used satellite imagery to document the destruction of villages in Sudan that lead to an arrest warrant through the International Criminal Court.

“A very important way in which science contributes to peace is through transitional justice mechanisms,” said Wolfinbarger. “Science can contribute greatly to processes that help societies move out of conflict and toward peace by addressing human rights abuses, through criminal prosecutions, truth commissions, reparations, and institutional reforms.

“There is a need for many types of scientists to participate in these mechanisms of justice, from providing evidence to courts and commissions to facilitating data collection through information management systems to applications to aid in reforms to government, improving education and increasing accountability and improving perceptions of government.”