Educating World citizens. SDG4
Education for global citizenship, yes, but COMMITTED
Miguel Ángel Velasco cmf
Ph.D. in Pedagogy
In a conversation using Zoom, like so many during this time of the pandemic, a director from a publishing house that publishes textbooks for schools, told me the need and the same time the difficulty they have in using the expression “Education for global citizenship.” The problem was the diverse way in which the expression was understood by many. I remember the intervention of two people in a meeting of more than 300 representatives of NGOs and in Malaga (Spain); they refused to claim the citizen status for every human being, claiming that it was a concept born from the oppression of the countries of the North. Perhaps it referred to the theory of the nation born in the Westphalian Peace? He never made it clear.
In one of the side events to the annual meeting of the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on the SDG2030 Agenda at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, the concept of global citizenship referred to the knowledge of cultural manifestations. Music, clothing, food, summer educational exchange program, etc. The event was very well prepared, presented by an Asian country before the UN. The “tentenpié” (catering) that was offered was an absolutely new Yorker. Is this just Global Citizenship?
During November 2019, a group of eight teachers from three schools of the Claretian Missionaries of Spain visited some of the Claretian schools in Nigeria. We were received there, among others, by the Claretians who had previously been having the same experience in Spain. Like all the Claretians who came from four countries in Africa, as well as the professors, Claretians, and laity, who visited Nigeria, had an experience of what we can call “Global Citizenship Consciousness.” I can assure you that the laity and Claretians who briefly visited Nigeria were “touched” by the experience. After the experience, The Global Citizenship was no longer simply a proposed visit, not even a cultural one, but had touched the personal fiber of those educators; it is part of their way of seeing the World. The question was no longer on how to be able to help the communities financially in education; they felt a personal and communal responsibility with the teachers, students, and families they had visited. The expression that must always accompany the phrase “Education for Global Citizenship” is: to “Feel CORRESPONSIBLE” of the situation of the world; to feel the whole world as everyone’s task. To educate “in global citizenship” is to “educate with that feeling of universal co-responsibility.” Both the Claretians who came to Madrid and the Claretians and the laity who went to Nigeria, surely, we have lived in a different way the COVID-19 pandemic.
The educational centers have taken up the inspiration of the great pedagogues (New School): schools, institutes, and universities have to be understood as PLACES TO EDUCATE. Education feels like a much more comprehensive concept than that of instruction and even that of formation. In a world that is accelerating with scientific-technical discoveries and in which the information has multiplied exponentially. It is urgent to return to the true meaning of the school: to educate for life. It is once again at the center of the entire UNESCO Delors Report, “Education Locks Up a Treasure” (1996).
The school, together with the parents has to offer education for life, not only for the present but, above all, for the future. Childhood and adolescence learning forges the keys by which the world can be interpreted, the reason for the existence of things, what is important and what is not. As educators, we are called by vocation to scrutinize the present and the future to prepare the students of today who will be the leaders of tomorrow. I suppose that one of the clearest lessons we are drawing from events such as COVID-19, climate change, economic crises or migration, is that we are increasingly in a GLOBAL reality. Each country and each one of us is increasingly becoming citizens of the world. And this is not simply a call to learn more about the history, art, and cultures, but a call to feel that our capacities and wealth are “from and for” all the inhabitants of the earth. We called to our vocation to change the world.
Education for Citizenship is more relevant today than ever. The heads of the educational centers must take it as a fundamental axis of teaching to parents and students. One of the most useful transversal educational lines in our school must be this: EDUCATION FOR COMMITTED GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP.
Today we have the opportunity to know that the future of humanity is a more global and interconnected world. But along with this, we have to ask ourselves what kind of global citizens and what kind of globalized world we want. It is humanity that must put the person at the center and create a world for them. Taking the 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development Goals as the basis, orientation, horizon, is to take a concrete path to achieve it. In the 2030 Agenda, the 17 objectives are presented relating: the rights of the person, the environment, the right to sustainable progress, peace, justice and reconciliation and the collaboration of all with everything. It has not been easy to achieve, it has taken many years, a lot of study and many negotiations, but in them, we find the way to put the INTEGRAL PERSON, at the center of the Global Committed Citizenship Project.
To be global citizens is to feel the urgency of being a protagonist in the construction of this world and seek how to make it possible. To be a GLOBAL CITIZEN, you don’t learn in a few days; an awareness process is required that only true education can offer. We need to integrate into our curriculum: in Primary, Secondary, University and continuous Education the Education for Global Committed Citizenship. It will not be difficult to design the curriculum, simply, “you have to make up your mind and make them come true.” A question to guide the design: what to do so that when they finish school, they feel the world, as their responsibility? First of all understand it, but not only.
We, the Catholic Church, or the Congregation of Claretian Missionaries, who are global organizations, we have the obligation and Mission to create EDUCATIONAL CURRICULUM in our schools that will help our students to feel responsible for the transformation of the world as presented by the 2020 Agenda. Furthermore, as the Gospel presents it to us: a UNIVERSAL BROTHERHOOD.
Miguel Ángel Velasco cmf
PhD in Pedagogy
(A. Alcántara cmf. Trasnlator)