Session III: Global Citizenship Education


The current humanitarian crisis calls for unparalleled levels of global solidarity combined with a long-term vision of how to create more resilient and inclusive societies that respect diversity and promote living together around shared values of citizenship. The accelerated pace of globalization, the mismatch between skills and labor markets and growing inequalities is spurring global awareness about the centrality of education for social cohesion, inclusive growth and the prevention of violent extremism.

At a time when educational achievement is more than ever a marker of future opportunity, the world remains far off the mark, with over 263 million children and adolescents still out of school. Adolescent girls and young women are the most vulnerable to exclusion, to early marriage, sexual violence and exploitation.

The figures for the forcibly placed are staggering: only 50% of displaced children are in primary school and 25% in secondary. Access to learning in safe, supporting and secure environments is the starting point for any discussion on integration and citizenship. The challenges are steep – in terms of capacity, language, curricula, teacher supply and training, planning and financing.

The thrust of UNESCO’s response to the Syria crisis has focused on bridging learning gaps for youth in host countries. Beyond this, today’s unprecedented humanitarian crisis affects every society, generating rising intolerance and increasing the risk of youth radicalization. This Paper examines education’s preventive and pre-emptive role, in particular through global citizenship to create spaces for dialogue, positive youth engagement in democratic life, critical thinking, inter-cultural competences and digital literacy.

In this Paper, Irina Bokova argues that education must be recast, to be relevant, inclusive, responsive and universal. It explores the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and makes specific reference to global citizenship, pointing to its recognition as a fundamental force for shaping the future.

Presented by Svein Østtveit, Director of the Executive Office, Education Sector, UNESCO