Global Citizenship Education: What, Why, Who, How?

WHAT is Global Citizenship Education?

Global citizenship education (GCED) is rooted in developing a sense of shared belonging to the global community. It incorporates the goals of many other related education areas such as global competence education, 21st Century learning, peace education, human rights education, and education for sustainable development. It is a specific part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals Target 4.7.

GCED builds crucial skills such as:

  • Communication and collaboration
  • Empathy and compassion
  • Readiness to take informed action
  • Respect for diversity
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative problem solving.
  • Armed with these skills learners are able to: 

  • Better understand themselves, others, and the world around them
  • Value the global connections between individuals and communities
  • Reach mutual understanding across many lines of difference  
  • Identify specific ways they can address global challenges to improve their communities and world.

  • WHY is it important?

    As the world becomes increasingly interconnected and problems require complex, coordinated solutions, tomorrow’s adults need to be prepared for the world in which they will live. This includes the ability to take action to address global issues such as environmental changes, children’s rights, human development, sustainability, and conflict. At the same time, learners need to build 21st-century skills and global competencies allowing them to more easily interact and succeed in the global economy. These motivations are not exclusive – individuals with financial stability are better situated to make contributions to the global good and a peaceful, secure world allows for the opportunity for personal success.

    WHO should do it?

    Everyone! The more people engaging with the world as active global citizens, the more effective their actions become. It is never too early for children to learn to engage with the world around them and it is never too late to encourage adults to do so. We encourage all schools and educators to consider how they can help their students develop into active global citizens.

    HOW do I do it?

    Great question! There is no one right way or approach to global citizenship education, because each school, individual, and educator is different. In fact, your school may already be nurturing active global citizens and not even realize it. The important thing is to start where you are and to take small steps towards achieving your vision of a school championing global citizenship education.

    “We can start with smaller steps and move towards a very big impact. We should understand that we are not a generation of bystanders, we are all global citizens. In order to ensure…a sustainable future for our children, we have to equip them with global citizenship education.”
    -Rabia Saqib, CEO, The Brighton School, Karachi, Pakistan

    If you want more information about how to make the journey towards GCED, that’s our specialty! Please click the link below to understand how Global Schools First partners with schools on a journey to determine where they are now, where they want to go and to celebrate their achievements along the way.

    Global Citizenship Education is NOT:

  • One particular subject or part of the curriculum – it is incorporated throughout the learning experience from math to arts to geography and is part of school leadership and culture as well
  • Just talk – it is about preparing learners to be active participants in the world around them
  • An “extra” – preparing students to meet the challenges of the changing world is at the heart of GCED and the focus of education in general
  • The same as national citizenship: There are no passports or taxes related to global citizenship, in fact no legal basis whatsoever. The term “global citizenship” is a way of claiming an identity of shared global belonging and aims.