Education should contribute to peaceful and sustainable societies from local to global levels. The focus of education for sustainable development is both cognitive and non-cognitive learning. Knowledge and skills development are an integral part of broader employment and development strategies for overall productivity and employment growth. In addition to promoting skills development, social dialogue and collective bargaining can also be instrumental in the equitable and efficient distribution of the benefits of improved productivity. At the same time, gender equality is the underlying principle of decent work and optimal productivity.
Education for sustainable development (ESD) and global citizenship education (GCED) provide the necessary knowledge, skills, values and attitudes required by citizens to lead productive lives, make informed decisions, and actively participate in resolving local and global challenges. In addressing integration of sustainable development and global citizenship education in education systems, countries strive to achieve target 7 by 2030 as stated below: “By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and nonviolence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development”
Education 2030 agenda emphasizes integration of sustainable development and global citizenship education in education systems. The policy brief outlines the context, situational analysis and policy recommendations. It provides the Arab States with information and strategies that will guide policy
makers to determine targets and actions for integration of sustainable development and global citizenship education in education delivery.
Context The Arab state region consists of 19 countries that are in four categories: Developed, least developing countries, Mashreq and Maghreb. The developed countries are: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman; The Least Developing Countries (LDC) are; Mauritania, Sudan and Yemen. The category of Mashreq countries is; Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria. Maghreb includes Algeria, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia.
Since the year 2000, the Arab States Region countries have made considerable progress in achieving the Education for All goals. However, the most significant challenge to progress in education is conflict, which exacerbates inequality, poverty, exclusion and marginalization and in particular access to quality education. In this context, this policy brief analyses and discusses the situation of integration of sustainable development and global citizenship education in the education systems in the Arab States Region.
Situation Analysis The areas of focus for target 7 of the education 2030 agenda are knowledge, attitude, and participation. The first area of focus is about knowledge to promote sustainable development and can be tracked by obtaining the proportion of 15-year-old students showing proficiency in knowledge of environmental science and geosciences.
The second area of focus is on values and attitudes that are necessary for building peaceful and sustainable societies. This can be tracked by obtaining the proportion of 13-year-old students endorsing values and attitudes that promote equality, trust and participation in governance.
The third area of focus is on participation, which encompasses the content of education on themes such as comprehensive sexuality education, respect for cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue that are contextually relevant and that focuses on learning. The level of participation in education for sustainable development can be tracked by three indicator: 1) proportion of teaching hours dedicated to education for sustainable development/global citizenship education; 2) proportion of schools that provide life skills- based HIV and sexuality education; and 3) number of countries implementing the framework on the World Programme on Human Rights Education (as per UNGA resolution 59/113).
A set of strategic approaches proposed to inform actions to deliver and monitor progress towards acquisition of knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development in the Arab States Region. The proposed strategies in this target focus on knowledge, attitudes and participation. i. Review, develop and implement policies and programmes on ESD and GCED within the formal, non-formal and informal education and training • Develop policies and programmes to promote and bring ESD and GCED into the mainstream of formal, non-formal and informal education through system-wide interventions, teacher training, curricular reform and pedagogical support. • Implementing the Global Action Programme on ESD and addressing themes such as human rights, gender equality, health, comprehensive sexuality education, climate change, sustainable livelihoods and responsible and engaged citizenship, based on national experiences and capabilities.
ii. Establish mechanisms for equipping learners with opportunities to acquire knowledge, skills, values and attitudes so as to build peaceful, healthy and sustainable societies.
• Provide learners of both sexes and of all ages with opportunities to acquire, throughout life, the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that are needed to build peaceful, healthy and sustainable societies • Promote participatory programmes for learners and educators related to ESD and GCED to engage in their communities and society. • Ensure that education acknowledges the key role that culture plays in achieving sustainability, taking into account local conditions and culture as well as building awareness of cultural expressions and heritage, and their diversity while emphasizing the importance of respect for human rights. • Promote an interdisciplinary, and if necessary, multi-stakeholder approach to ensure ESD and GCED at all levels and in all forms of education, including through human rights education and training, promoting a culture of peace and non-violence.
iii. Establish mechanisms for identification, consolidation and dissemination ESD and GCED good practices
• Develop and disseminate good practices on ESD and GCED within and between countries to better implement educational programmes and enhance international cooperation and understanding.
iv. Establish assessment systems for ESD and GCED
Support the development of assessment systems for ESD and GCED to assess cognitive, socio-emotional and behavioral learning outcomes, using existing and proven tools when possible, • Identify needs for the development of new tools and including a broad range of countries and regions.
UN (2015) Framework for Action Education 2030: Towards inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning for all (raft) CEDAW (2015) Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Committee Report ESCWA (2015) Women’s Rights and Gender Equality for Sustainable Development: Discussing the Proposed SDGs within the Context of the Development Problematique in the Arab Region. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)