Nelson Mandela once said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. And nowadays it seems that only education is the last hope for rescue to the generations which are wallowed in the dirt of wars and conflicts based on religious intolerance and racial hate. These kinds of tensions are growing in geometrical progression and evident all over the world; even the development of technologies, which might unite people, in the reality assist to spread hate and aggression. To challenge the status quo it is vital to ensure the provision of education based on the principles of basic human values. And exactly with this purpose, UNESCO has developed the conceptual framework of Global Citizenship Education (GCE). The main aim of GCE is to empower learners to be more tolerant, open-minded and respectful for people around them and build the society based on the principles of tolerance, solidarity, humanism and global interconnectedness and be exemplary Global Citizens (UNESCO, 2013).
But who is a Global Citizen and which competencies he/she should possess? To become a Global Citizen you shouldn’t change your passport or move away. Not being a legal status, global citizenship is more imply for a sense of belonging not only to the particular country or society, but to the whole global world. There are numerous competencies, such as an awareness of global issues and trends; respect of key universal human values; ability to critically and analytically analyze real life situations occurring worldwide; openness to the new experiences and ability to interact and collaborate with people of different backgrounds and origins.
Core ideas of the concept can be delivered through formal and informal systems. In most countries Global Citizenship Education is delivered through the formal systems, being integrated in an existing subject such as “Social Studies” or “Basics of Human Rights”, or being presented as an independent subject at school or university. However, it needs to be complemented by informal systems, which involves different actors.
First of all, family is very important component, because children who see the respect and acceptance at homes will reproduce this model of the behavior at schools or other public places; the same time, if they experience intolerance, interracial discord or cultural marginalization, they will reproduce this behavior as well.
Community is also important actor as it forms and directs communication scenarios among people. Community has the power of shaping the opinion and points of view that is why it’s necessary to involve community in the process of introduction and implementation of GCE.
And the last but not least informal systems are the World Wide Web and TV. It is been said a lot about the power of TV and Internet on the creation of attitude towards certain issues. Generally, people criticize world web and TV network of promoting hate and aggression. However, it is possible to use those informal systems for peaceful purposes and introduce the ideas and principles of global citizenship for million and billion people all over the world.
And if these actions bring changes, I am sure that the world will become a little bit better. And one day we will live in the world where people don’t hate each other because they’re different but will embrace diversity and respect each other. I believe that despite the fact that mass media and other constituent groups are striving to seed the hate and chaos in hearts and minds of people, they will be knowledgeable and open-minded enough to resist an untoward influence.
Because we are not Black or White, we are not Muslims or Christians, we are not Women or Men, but we are all Humans. And being humans puts on us the great responsibility; to act in accordance with moral norms and principles and be active contributors to more tolerant, secure, sustainable and inclusive world.
As future educational leaders, what do you think about the implementation of GCE in Kazakhstani context? How successful it might be and are there any unforeseen challenges?
UNESCO. (2013). Global Citizenship Education: An emerging perspective. Outcome document of the Technical
Consultation on Global Citizenship Education. Paris: UNESCO.