UCL Institute of Education, Development Education Research Centre, UK
Frances Hunt, UCL Institute of Education, Development Education Research Centre
Phil Bamber, Liverpool Hope University
Massimiliano Tarozzi, UCL Institute of Education, Development Education Research Centre
This symposium addresses the sub-theme of approaches to education for social justice, citizenship and sustainability through an exploration of conceptualisations and practices of global citizenship education in a range of contexts: schooling, higher education, teacher education and NGO contributions to policy making, within the UK, wider Europe and internationally. The symposium offers four different analyses of how global citizenship is conceptualised, and crucially how these conceptualisations influence educational practice. The four papers illustrate how global citizenship is often locally defined and subject to varying influences. Its subsequent implementation therefore involves negotiation between different actors, either within a school or institution, or nationally between different political actors. The dilemmas, tensions and consequences resulting from the different understandings illustrated in these papers influence learners’ engagement with global citizenship and have implications for how well education is able to contribute to sustainable development.
Competing or complementary priorities? Global Citizenship Education in UK Higher Education.
Global Citizenship programmes are becoming increasingly popular as part of the offer to students within UK and wider international higher education (HE) contexts. Conceptualisations of global citizenship within HE can be
categorised in various ways, in terms of whether they focus more on preparation for the world of work, or whether
they take a more radical, social justice perspective, for example. Within HE institutions, conceptualisations of global citizenship are also locally defined, with institutional and government priorities influencing how global citizenship is promoted within programmes. Reconciling the various, sometimes competing, priorities with wider definitions of global citizenship is a challenge. This paper therefore examines the tensions and synergies between institutional and government priorities and the understandings and practice of global citizenship education, using University College London’s (UCL) Global Citizenship Programme as an example. Priorities such as the UK government’s focus on graduate employability provide impetus for a focus on students’ employability and entrepreneurial skills and attributes within the programme. These can pose a challenge to more activist and social justice interpretations of global citizenship. In contrast, UCL’s grand challenges research themes that tackle current global issues, provide a clear, globally focused knowledge base for the programme, and provide students with opportunities to be directly involved in actions to solve global issues. The paper offers a discussion on how these tensions and synergies may be experienced by students and the degree to which they lead to a coherent conceptualisation of global citizenship which is understood within and beyond the university.
Teacher education for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and Global Citizenship Education (GCED): an international comparative review.
Drawing upon a data collated for a background paper informing the 2017/18 Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM) Report (Bourn, Hunt and Bamber, 2017), this presentation critically explores the preparation of teachers in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and Global Citizenship Education (GCED) in relation to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 4.7. This international comparative review focuses upon teacher education (both initial and in-service continuing professional development) for compulsory schooling.
Recognising that ESD/GCED is values-infused and locally defined, this paper shares insights from in depth case studies of ESD/GCED in different international contexts. It concludes that there is a tendency in many countries for ESD and GCED to be promoted within teacher education along parallel lines. Furthermore, there is no shared understanding of the intended learning goals of ESD/GCED.
Differing themes such as gender equality, peace education, human rights, and an understanding of cultural diversity are reflected within teacher education around the world. Different theoretical perspectives and epistemological traditions inform these approaches. Nevertheless, there is a tendency for ESD/ GCED approaches to promote social constructivist approaches to teaching and learning. This can present major challenges to securing broader support because it is counter to dominant approaches to teacher education.
A particular challenge is to ensure monitoring and evaluation of ESD/GCED interventions consistent with the values of ESD/GCED itself (Mayer and Dillon, 2016). The drive to secure international data for comparison perpetuates the use of quantitative measures, generated by multilateral agencies in the North (King, 2017), antithetical to the emergent principles of ESD/GCED. We conclude that to measure progress against 4.7, wholistic indicators need to be developed that make connections between ESD/GCED and current themes within education such as global competencies, cultural understanding and moral and social purpose of teaching.
NGOs as political actors in promoting Global Citizenship Education: A comparative European study.
Since Global Citizenship Education (GCE) is an emerging but still elusive concept, to look at the political agenda of several countries it is necessary to understand the very concept and the educational significance of GCE. Agenda setting, policy formulation and implementation are always complex interactive and multi-layered processes where several political actors intertwine their visions, ideologies and agencies. This presentation examines the role of NGOs as political actors, and the bargaining process between them and the governmental actors, by looking at national (multi-stakeholders) strategies to systematically implement GCE policy and practice in 10 European Countries.
Based on a comparative policy analysis, the political role of NGOs is explored, stressing their main areas of engagement and achievement and their weaknesses, especially the cultural conflict between them and other political agents. Results show that NGOs, civil society and grassroots social movements, play a crucial political role in widening the decision-making basis and bringing critical voices from below into the global political arena. Unlike institutional bodies, NGOs are more flexible and open to change, they can reconcile the agenda of different governmental bodies and on different topics and they have the potential to create links between different actors. In addition, civil society’s political participation in decision-making processes in education is important not only because bottom-up approaches are more equitable and promote democratic engagement, but also as they are more effective in grounding policies in educational practice.
Nevertheless, to make this participation real and successful NGOs are required to raise critical and independent voices, and avoid being incorporated into governmental organizations’ political agendas and procedures.