‘Global citizenship education’ (GCE) is increasingly a feature of curricular reform across all levels of education around the world. However, there is considerable ambiguity associated with this term as it is subject to a wide range of interpretations, causing confusion for educators and policy makers.
This study develops, applies and refines an analytical framework through which GCE policies and practices can be explored, analysed and compared. Through a critical review of the literature, a set of eight conceptions of GCE are established, from which an analytical framework is constructed. This framework is then used to explore the ideological underpinnings of several GCE programmes. Qualitative research was undertaken in three secondary school Model United Nations (MUN) case study programmes, in the Midwestern USA, South India and South East England.
The analysis demonstrates the value of the framework which illuminates each programme’s ideological profile and reveals similarities and divergences in the themes and issues between the three case studies. The ideological underpinnings of each MUN are found to be strongly linked to the programme’s specific educational context and management style. The construction of the framework, the analysis of key GCE programmes in three locations and the resulting synthesis of principles and practice enable this complex term to be better understood and applied.