Global Education Monitoring Report

Target 4.7: Sustainable development and global citizenship

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 non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development

Chapter 14 PDF

CREDIT: ESB Professional/Shutterstock.com. A young boy holding a globe.

Key Messages

  • The number of countries reporting on the 1974 UNESCO Recommendation, the basis of the global indicator for this target, rose from 57 to 83 between the last two consultations.
  • The Recommendation’s Guiding Principles, including human rights and fundamental freedoms, are only fully reflected in 17% of countries in in-service teacher education but in over 80% of countries in student assessment, up from just under half in the previous consultation.
  • The IEA International Civic and Citizenship Study shows that 11 of the 18 countries for which a comparison could be made improved students’ civic knowledge scores between 2009 and 2016. A special module in 14 European countries showed that 88% of grade 8 students agreed immigrants should have equal rights.
  • Teaching materials may not fully tap education’s potential for peace. Globally, inclusion of conflict prevention and conflict resolution was low at around 10% of social science textbooks over 2000–2011.
  • Pathways to violent extremism are complex and have multiple causes. High-quality, equitable education that increases respect for diversity can make a positive contribution, albeit only in the long term. An open classroom climate that accepts critical viewpoints needs to be embraced.
  • Non-formal education in the form of media literacy, safe spaces for discussion, youth clubs and community centres can help people become critical media consumers, increase respect for diversity and ultimately reduce the risk of violent extremism.

Reporting on the global indicator is based on 83 countries that took part in the sixth consultation on implementation of the 1974 UNESCO Recommendation concerning Education for International Understanding, Co-operation and Peace Education relating to Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. Over 80% of the countries reported including the recommendation’s guiding principles in student assessment, and almost all reported including them in curricula. However, only 17% of the countries fully reflected the principles in in-service teacher education programmes (Figure 13).

Figure 13: Only 17% of countries fully reflect human rights and fundamental freedom principles in in-service teacher education

The IEA International Civic and Citizenship Study 2016 analysed grade 8 students’ knowledge, understanding, attitudes, perceptions and activities in 24 mostly high income countries. Some 35% of students scored at the highest of four levels, demonstrating the ability to make connections between the processes of social and political organization and the legal and institutional mechanisms controlling them, while 13% scored at the lowest level or below.

Eleven countries significantly improved scores between the 2009 and 2016 survey rounds, and none showed significant declines. Participants’ endorsement of equal rights and positive attitudes towards ethnic/racial groups also improved. Females, students with more interest in civics and political matters and those with higher levels of civic knowledge held more positive attitudes. Individual variables most consistently associated with positive attitudes related to perceptions of the quality of school processes, such as student–teacher relations, civics learning and openness in schools and classroom discussions.

Previous year’s Target 4.7