What is Global Education?
As Global Education Week approaches, a question arises: What even is Global Education? It’s a pedagogical approach to education conceived back in 1991 by the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe. The goal was to create education that would “open” people’s eyes and minds to the realities of a globalized world, but which would also focus on human rights, intercultural dialogue, international understanding and cooperation, peace and sustainability.
„Global“ in Global Education
When you look at it that way, Global Education is all kinds of things. What helps me understand it is to analyse the name itself: What is exactly “global” in Global Education? The point is that today you can’t really separate what is local and what is global. Environmental initiatives to protect green areas in a city may essentially be a local one but its initiators were undoubtedly inspired by the international environmental movement as well as by the idea of sustainable development.
More importantly, what happens locally can impact the whole world – e.g. SARS-CoV-2 virus infected humans for the first time in a city in China and now, ten months later, the World Health Organisation claims its infected 10% of the world population.
“Global” also means looking at the world and its history from a wider perspective. Too often in formal educational systems, not enough attention is paid to world-wide or regional events that shaped the world. It’s absolutely important to know the history of your own peoples, but we should also look at familiar events from the perspective of others so that we had a deeper understanding but also to develop empathy.
Lifelong, inclusive and non-formal learning
Learning doesn’t have to stop when we finish formal education – we should continue learning all our lives, and so lifelong learning is another aspect of Global Education. On the other hand, that education has to be useful – education should equip us with knowledge, skills and attitudes which will be of use on the labour market.
All of this has to be conceived to be inclusive when it comes to individuals’ belonging to cultural, national, ethnic or faith groups. Our most important belonging is to humanity, and so the accent is put on human rights. Inclusion is also important when it comes to life circumstances which make it harder for some people to dedicate themselves to education. Educational systems have to give everyone equal opportunities to take part in education, e.g. to provide adequate access for people who use wheelchairs or additional attention to pupils who have trouble with attention span.
Formal education could also take some methods from non-formal education! In youth work, workshop participants have complete ownership of what they’re learning because they have active participation in the process. On the other hand, this means a lot of civil society organisations which do non-formal education already employ methods similar to the ones Global Education advocates for.
Something that would help with understanding the methodology behind Global Education further are the Global Education Guidelines.
What’s the point?
What’s the point of all of this? In a democratic society, an individual isn’t just a worker, isn’t just a follower or a consumer. An individual is in charge of their own fate but also fates of their local communities, countries and at the end of the day, the whole world. They have to be aware of their potential but also equipped with the right knowledge and skills necessary to influence their environment and contribute to a more just and solidary society, and to be able to face, as active global citizens, all of the complex problems of today, such as global warming and rising wealth inequality.
For that purpose, Global Education relies on Agenda 2030 adopted by the United Nations in 2015 which sets 17 Sustainable Development Goals which should be fulfilled until 2030. One of those goals is focused on education – Goal 4, which speaks about the need for creating inclusive and quality education, as well as the promotion of lifelong learning, and the target 4.7 which aims to enable all pupils to gain knowledge and skills necessary to advance sustainable development by 2030.
An ambitious plan but we in Serbia have accepted the challenge. In Serbia, Global Education has been implemented into the Law on Youth, the National Youth Strategy 2015 – 2025, as well as the Action plan for 2018 – 2020.
This year for the first time, The Ministry of Youth and Sports in collaboration with the Center for Youth Work is forming the National Global Education Network, whose initial task will be to organise this year’s Global Education Week between the 16th and 20th November.
If you would like to join, we invite you to participate in the info session organised by the North-South Center, which will take place on October 15th. In order to attend the info session, please register here.
The Fun Park app was designed in accordance to Global Education principles. Find out more about Global Education: