Skills for Global citizens
We all agree that children still need foundation skills, such as reading, numeracy and writing. Children, however, must also be prepared to become both productive contributors of future economies, and responsible and active citizens in future societies.
This important task requires collaboration between the private and public education sectors. This is a challenge, as in most countries, including Australia, the two sectors work separately from each other. This needs to change. The Government Sector and Education Ministries have an important role to play to bring about this change.
As mentioned last week, four critical characteristics in shifting school learning content have been identified. I will examine the first of these today – Global Citizenship Skills. It is important for educators to include school learning content that focuses on children building awareness about the wider world, sustainability and playing an active role in the global community. You only have to look around and see that we need to do better. Much, much better.
Income inequality has increased across the developed and emerging economies around the world. How has this occurred? Market concentration, inequality of opportunity, globalisation and technology are seen as the main drivers. On the positive side, globalisation and technology have enabled greater global interdependence, which means an individual can make a difference. Current examples of young people trying to make a difference, include Amanda Gorman, a poet and activist (at the recent US Presidential Inauguration ceremony) and Greta Thunberg, an environmental activist.
Many schools across the world and in Australia, address global citizenship, however, its usually done as an ‘add on’ or on an ‘adhoc basis’. What can be done to ‘build in mechanisms’ for skills adaption, not just for Global Citizenship skills but for all critical skills for the future?
There are many examples around the world where schools are addressing Global Citizenship. One of these is Green School Bali, and its sister school. Green School New Zealand. Do yourself a favour and go to www.greenschool.org to see how they are inspiring the new generation of changemakers by embedding Global Citizenship Skills in curricular and co-curricular programmes.
In education, it starts with Teacher Training and Courses at Universities and Colleges. Teachers need to be trained to ‘Teach for Tomorrow’. From there it becomes largely the responsibility of schools: teachers, heads of learning areas, directors of teaching and learning, deputy principals and principals. The various systems and sectors need to get together. Visionary and transformational education leaders need to step up, stand up and be heard!
Governments mandate the curriculum. In fairness, however, there is scope for skills to be included, at the expense of outdated content and the overcrowded curriculum. In progressive schools, students have a voice in what and how they learn. In even more progressive schools, the community has a large part to play and for the future, we will need to add the business sector into the mix.
We need to work together. Education is far too important to miss the opportunity to reset, regroup and move forward!