Mobilizing the global community to advance peace through education

Editor’s Note: The Global Campaign for Peace Education contributed to the process of the revision of the Recommendation concerning education for international understanding, co-operation and peace and education for human rights and fundamental freedoms (the 1974 Recommendation) by developing a technical note used by the International Expert Group that advised UNESCO through the revision process.  The technical note, New understandings of education’s contribution to peace: a review of what we know is effective, can be downloaded here.  Click here to learn more about the revision process.  

Ensuring education genuinely prepares learners to become active and engaged in the promotion of peaceful and just societies requires more sustained attention. It also requires well prepared and motivated teachers and educators, inclusive school policies, youth participation and innovative pedagogies, among other measures.

(Reposted from: UNESCO.  December 6, 2022)

Education is a fundamental human right and a formidable means of empowering people and societies when designed to do so.

According to a recent study conducted by UNESCO, one in four teachers do not feel ready to teach human rights and gender equality. And only about one-quarter of teachers can explain well how to protect and support human rights.

Ensuring education genuinely prepares learners to become active and engaged in the promotion of peaceful and just societies requires more sustained attention. It also requires well prepared and motivated teachers and educators, inclusive school policies, youth participation and innovative pedagogies, among other measures.

To help countries transform their education systems with this objective in mind, UNESCO is revising one of its landmark normative instruments entitled the Recommendation concerning education for international understanding, co-operation and peace and education for human rights and fundamental freedoms, also known as the 1974 Recommendation.

In September 2022, the first draft of the revised Recommendation was sent to UNESCO’s Member States, drawing increased attention to the instrument and its potential impact.

UNESCO Chairs focusing on Global Citizenship Education and related areas, met in Paris in the margins of the 30th anniversary celebration of the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme (November 2022) to discuss joint areas of interest and the 1974 Recommendation. They expressed strong support for revising the instrument and engaged in a fruitful dialogue to identify strategic activities that would help operationalize global citizenship education, including strengthening the link between education and culture and mother tongue education in curricula, train teachers on violent pasts, consult and involve more students.

A session dedicated to the revision of the 1974 Recommendation also took place in the framework of the 7th International Conference on Global Citizenship Education:  Platform on Pedagogy and Practice; GCED in the Face of Digital Transformation that Connects and Divides, organized by the Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU) on 4 November 2022. The event helped to raise awareness of the relevance of the revised instrument and its contribution to building peace around the world, acting as a tool to inspire, guide and motivate different stakeholders working in the educational domain.

Among the panelists, H.H. Khondker Mohammad Talha, Ambassador, Permanent Delegation of Bangladesh to UNESCO and Ama Serwah Nerquaye Tetteh, Secretary-General, Ghana National Commission for UNESCO reaffirmed their commitment to take forward the revised Recommendation, including through the ongoing updating of national curricula and strengthening the monitoring framework to support the design and implementation of effective educational policies.

H.H. Khondker Mohammad Talha notably stressed the importance of rights and responsibilities, which is a core principle of the human rights-based approach that underpins the revised text and should be reinforced.

Professor Daehoon Jho, Department of Social Studies Education, College of Education, Sungshin Women’s University, Republic of Korea, underlined that the principles and concepts of the 1974 Recommendation were integrated in the national curricula, and the adoption of the revised recommendation will provide a unique opportunity to further strengthen these efforts.

The panelists also stressed the importance of consulting and involving civil society in the revision and implementation processes. Rilli Lappalainen, Founder and Chair of Bridge 47, President of CONCORD Europe insisted on the need to mobilize financial as well as human resources on the ground to concretely apply the principles of the revised recommendation.

The revised 1974 Recommendation remains “an inspirational and aspirational document”, as stated by Ms Nerquaye, and should continue to be going forward in order to ensure education truly instills in learners the knowledge and understanding of local, national, and global issues and a sense of belonging to a common humanity.

UNESCO will continue to promote this important work through outreach activities and events and mobilize Member States to ensure that the instrument is better known, understood and used.

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