Launched in 2012 by UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the Global Education First Initiative prioritized the importance of fostering global citizenship among students. UNESCO defines Global Citizenship Education (GCED) as “equipping learners of all ages with those values, knowledge and skills that are based on and instil respect for human rights, social justice, diversity, gender equality and environmental sustainability and that empower learners to be responsible global citizens. GCED gives learners the competencies and opportunity to realise their rights and obligations to promote a better world and future for all.” Three years since the Global Education First Initiative, the call remains the same and has even strengthened in Southeast Asia in light of the Asia Pacific Economic Community.

UNESCO Bangkok, in cooperation with the Korean Funds-in-Trust, held a meeting entitled “Preparing Teachers for Global Citizenship Education,” in Bangkok, Thailand on 27-29 July 2015 as a follow up to the World Education Forum in Incheon, Republic of Korea in May 2015 and in preparation for the adoption and endorsement of inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all as one of the Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations Summit in September 2015 in New York, USA.

The meeting was composed of educators, ministry officials, UNACOM representatives, and some students from Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, China, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Bhutan, and India.

The Philippines was represented by Mr. Miguel Lizada, faculty member at the Ateneo de Manila University School of Humanities, Mr. Josh Ariel Almoite, faculty member at Reedley International School, and Ms. Joana Rizza Bagano, Philippines National Commission for UNESCO or PH NatCom’s programme officer and focal person for Global Citizenship Education (GCED)-related activities and initiatives. Mr.Lizada, Mr.Almoite, and Ms. Bagano shared their respective experiences with the Philippine educational system and how global citizenship may be integrated to the relatively new K to 12 curriculum for basic education.

Mr.Lizada, who teaches English to college students, detailed his strategy in teaching GCED through theatre activities such as localized versions of Shakespere’sscripts. Mr.Lizada executes this strategy through the incorporation of Filipino family values in his student’s plays and emphasizing how these values may be applied in a global context. Mr.Almoite, a Science high school teacher, briefly described how he uses digital platforms to develop a continuous learning habit for his students wherever they are in the world. Meanwhile, Ms. Bagano shared the flagship project of the Social and Human Sciences Committee, the Karunungan(Wisdom) Festival where social science educators are engaged in the discussion of how global citizenship may be introduced to their students and eventually absorbed as a guiding tool in the Department of Education’s basic education curriculum.

The meeting was able to map GCED-related programmes and projects at the regional and national levels and identify good practices and avoid duplication of efforts. Some examples of these programmes and projects are Schools-related Gender Based Violence, Happy Schools Project, YES Peace, GCED Clearinghouse, Connecting Classrooms, and Global Incubation x Fostering Talents (GiFT). Similar efforts are evident at the national level, such as liberal studies and critical thinking curriculum in Hong Kong, Education for Sustainable Development in Japan, teaching GCED through theatre activities in the Philippines, among many others.

Country representatives were also able to develop some strategies and follow-up action plans based on the context, entry points, delivery mechanisms, challenges and enabling factors. The participants were also able to discuss how UNESCO and other partners could help in the implementation of the activities in the different countries represented.

It was also proposed during the meeting that UNESCO establish the GCED-Net to continue the dialogue and to share knowledge. According to UNESCO Bangkok, this network will be instrumental in meeting the objectives of the project, and in contributing to the overarching goal of the Education 2030, Towards inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all.

More information available at: http://www.unescobkk.org/education/teacher-education-and-training/gced/

The Global Citizenship Education launch meeting was held in tandem with the National Qualifications Frameworks for Lifelong Learning and Skills Development.