WHAT IS GLOBAL EDUCATION?

Before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half the world.   | MARTIN LUTHER KING

Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.   | CREE PROPHECY

But learning to unlearn and to learn from others – to question long held beliefs and open oneself to different forms of knowledge is never easy.   | KONAI HELU THAMAN

QUOTES ABOVE AND MORE

A good way to sum up what global education represents is to combine the meaning from the three quotes above. First if we are globally aware and sensitive, we realize sooner or later that we are all interconnected, we depend on each other, that the world is not composed of nonrelated entities, but everything is part of an interconnected web. Let´s look at obvious examples- where does your food come from, your cacao, your coffee, and your oranges? What about your clothes or your mobile phone? What are the living conditions of workers who produce these things, what do we actually support when buying a certain thing? Then, let’s look at history. Why are we privileged? Who is not, because we are? Who and what enables our privilege? Global education means involving a global dimension into everything we know- how does this and that relate to everything around us?

THE WEST AND THE REST

Second, on the west we live in a so-called fast culture. Due to historical developments, the West in the past enslaved and colonized the majority of the world (and I might argue it continues to do so but under another pretense) and even today unfairly enjoys the position in which all that is said or promoted by the West is ´the best´. However, the reality is that the unsustainable economic development in which we are caught up and is promoted as ´the best way´ is damaging the environment, speeding up climate change, which is then forcing people to leave their countries becoming environmental refugees and so on. Global education is here to prevent the Cree prophecy from fulfilling itself and work towards a more sustainable and responsible attitude and for taking care of all earths inhabitants.

OUTDATED FORMAL EDUCATION SYSTEM

Third, our formal education system is old and mostly doesn’t keep up with the realities of todays globalized world. It was established during and for the aims of the industrial revolution- with the main aim to educate pupils into hard working non-criticizing, obeying robots. As such it was exported around the world and is still dominating and as a consequence often destroying and devaluing local knowledge, traditions, belief systems. Global education approach invites us to doubt and criticize the school and other systems which brought us up and to perceive them as only one of the options, but not necessarily the best option. It invites us to unlearn and learn from others. To find knowledge not only in books, but in nature, in people. It moves away from only the rational level, and invites us to learn and feel- with head, heart, and then with hands- to do something to change the unfair systems in which we live. As such, it is very much connected to nonformal education, since methodologically; it promotes experiential and participatory learning.

IT INVITES US TO PRACTICE MULTIPERSPECTIVE APPROACH

Global education also invites us to take a multiperspective approach to everything. For example do not think about development only in Eurocentric terms- what all could development mean to different people, different societies? For you it might be economic development, for her it is spiritual development which is the most important, for him it’s the development of a person within a larger family/community setting. Who has the right to say that your perception of the development should be the one which is emphasized and not his or hers? All are equal but looking at the larger world picture, they are perceived as if they are not equal and that is also why global education is needed. To change this and to recognize value of diverse perspectives.

AWAY FROM THE MIND, CLOSER TO THE HEART

It also invites us to move away from only rational. Human beings work on four spheres, rational, physical, emotional and spiritual. To give such importance to the rational as our westernized society does from Descartes on, inhibits other three spheres and thus hinders the real potential of an individual and communities. Values such as competition, consumerism, and individualism become too important and persons and worlds well-being is compromised because of that.

IN SHORT

In short, global education facilitates learning and unlearning about the world, its interconnectedness and invites us to stand and act together for a more just and equal world. As Vanessa Andreotti said, we are at the end all part of the problem and of the solution. So let´s not just stay in the problem, instead let’s find solutions!

| TINA TRDIN