Goal Target 4.7 on Global Citizenship Education (GCE): history, definition, and national-level implementation possibilities

By Arnaud Langlois, Forus Advocacy Team

Forus and Bridge 47 organised a webinar on May 28th 2020, hearing from Albin Keuc, Director of SLOGA, the Slovenian platform of NGOs (Forus’ member) and Jose Roberto Guevara, Director of the ICAE, International College of Advanced Education.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development created new opportunities and new challenges for us all. Target 4.7 on Global Citizenship Education (GCE) recognises how important it is for society at large to acquire knowledge and skills to act in favour of sustainable development. This webinar proposed a general presentation about the Global Citizenship Education target and concrete examples of how it can be implemented at national level.

Jose Roberto Guevara, from ICAE explained how GCE does not only refer to the process of learning from life, it also refers to a more active paradigm, detailed in the UNESCO’s Delors Report of 1996. The 4 pillars of GCE are as follows: “to do”, “to know”, “to be” and “to live together”. We could add a 5th one: “to transform oneself and society”.

Besides empathy and critical thinking there are several skills making us global citizens. According to the GCED-WG , there are three families of "core competencies":

1. The capacity to evaluate global challenges.
2. The sensitivity to Human Rights questions.
3. The willingness to act for common good.

Where and how we learn these skills is mainly in a school context, but also by navigating general life experiences such as travelling or engagement with CSOs.

To identify ways in which these competencies are applied by CSOs, Guevara gave clear examples, such as CSO’s interventions during webinars to describe how COVID-19 was affecting acountry’s economic, social and environmental context (ability to evaluate global challenges), to warn about the possible impact of COVID-19 on civic space (empathy and concern for other people's rights), or when CSO platforms encourage inclusion in the HLPF process (willingness to act for common good).

The second speaker Albin Keuc, Director of SLOGA, affirmed that for his national platform of CSOs, GCE provides methods and techniques to implement solidarity actions. Indeed, they have put in practise “learning by doing” processes during national conferences, bringing together key actors, like educator clubs.

Furthermore, they are building partnerships with academic institutions or ministries, with the belief that only concerted actions can solve education problems in the long-term. In addition, common advocacy is an example of GCE at CSO’s level, as it gives a voice to vulnerable actors .

According to Albin Keuc, GCE practices are in the DNA of CSOs, especially when it’s about fighting against ignorance and prejudices.

One of the questions during the webinar from a consultant working with Nigerian school teachers, was about the undefined use of the terms Global Education and Global Citizenship Education. Guevara answered that whether we speak about global education, women’s education or environmental education, GCE is not about specific subject areas or terminologies, but more about core principles. The main idea is to look for a paradigm that will find a way out of the problems instead of multiplying them.

Regarding the question if GCE is a way of life, Guevara said that it is more a way of thinking, that does not compartmentalise subject areas like school often does. Consequently, GCE it’s not only about children, it is also about adults, and citizen’s engagement in general.

The webinar ended with concrete example of measures to promote GCE at country level. Albin Keuc said that they are supporting networking initiatives and organising national programmes together with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Education to bring together key partners in national forums.

Bridge 47 prepared another webinar entitled “Is COVID-19 a relevant opportunity to push for transformative education and systemic change ? “ click here for more information.  You can check the full webinar on our Facebook’s page

photo @kryptonitenicky