UNESCO has  just published  its review  on Global Citizenship Education (GCE) .

There is a lot of what one might expect here but  in amongst the platitudes and  industrial  helpings  of motherhood and apple pie  is a  focus on the need for non-cognitive skills  and  more collaboration, themes that  education reformers keep telling us  are  so important . What is clear though is that educators globally  are struggling to develop practical  approaches to support the development of non-cognitive skills within  education systems,  systems that are  almost entirely geared and incentivised  to measure  and assess cognitive skills. Indeed if you cant easily test it,  (non-cognitive skills are harder to test) it  doesn’t seem to be valued.  This seems to me to be one of the greatest challenges we face. One other  thought that   struck  me looking at what UNESCO would like to foster in learners is that , arguably , the International  Baccalaureate is  at least seeking,  more than most other qualifications, to help develop the kinds of skills and aptitudes and joined up thinking that  might help make one become  a  better global citizen.

The review  claims to establish ‘ that GCE has a critical role to play in equipping learners with competencies to deal with the dynamic and interdependent world of the twenty-first century. While GCE has been applied in different ways in different contexts, regions and communities, it has a number of common elements,  according to this Review, which include fostering in learners:

an attitude supported by an understanding of multiple levels of identity, and the potential for a ‘collective identity’ which transcends individual cultural, religious, ethnic or other differences;

 a deep knowledge of global issues and universal values such as justice, equality, dignity and respect;

 cognitive skills to think critically, systematically and  creatively including adopting a multi perspective approach that recognises the different dimensions  perspectives and angles of issues    


non-cognitive skills including social skills such as empathy and conflict resolution, communication skills and aptitudes for networking and interacting with people of different  backgrounds, origins, cultures and perspectives; and


behavioural capacities to act collaboratively and responsibly to find global solutions for global challenges, and to strive for the collective good.



Download the publication here.



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