Global Citizenship Education: A Comparative Study

With increased interconnectedness in the modern world come the challenges of peacefully and harmoniously living in it – the challenges that come with shifting one’s primary identity from a national citizen to that of a global citizen.  To cope with these sudden transitions, today’s youth need an enhanced skill set, knowledge and advanced behaviours. All these competencies can be enhanced with Global Citizenship Education (GCED). Read our previous blog to know more about Global Citizenship and GCED.

The concept of Global Citizenship emerged in the 1990s, in the middle of a transformative and globalized world. This concept was born as a response to the feeling of a “world without borders”, which refers to a feeling of global interconnectedness, where not only are there no national borders but also no ideological, cultural, or political boundaries. The increased importance of Global Citizenship, especially because it impacts our day-to-day interactions with our immediate environments, has led to Education for Global Citizenship (GCED). 

Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, launched the Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) in 2012, where he emphasized the importance of Global Citizenship Education for a peaceful and fair future. GEFI and the Millennium Goals for Sustainable Development are the two key facts that helped the concept to become part of the mainstream of the subject (UNESCO,2014; Symeonidis, 2015). Including Global Citizenship Education as a part of Sustainable Development Goal 4 in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development reaffirms the importance of GCED as a tool for a sustainable future.

When we talk about Global Citizenship Education, we essentially focus on 3 key dimensions from a learner’s perspective. They are:

  1. Cognitive: It usually refers to knowledge about the main issues at the local, regional, and global levels.
  2. Socio-emotional: It refers to skills and values that are important to understand and solve those issues.
  3. Behavioural: It refers to actions or pathways to build a more peaceful, empathetic, and sustainable world.

There are a lot of organizations and institutions, all around the world, working on GCED. Hence, there are multiple models, perspectives, and visions of it. 

gced-blog-image For example, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), one of the main United Nations organizations working on GCED gives importance to the local and national level, besides the global, this is a key point in their perspective about Global Citizenship Education (UNESCO, 2014). UNESCO also provides support to other UN agencies and civil society organizations, disseminating information, studies, strategies, and more regarding GCED.

gced-blog-image2 Within the UN system, UNICEF puts more emphasis on Sustainable Development, giving more importance to environmental issues and human rights. UNICEF also bases their perspective on the knowledge at the global level, but local-global based on the behavioral aspect, giving power to the individual children (UNICEF & SEAMEO, 2017).

gced-blog-image3 As an international confederation of non-governmental organizations, Oxfam gives a more critical perspective, with a little postcolonial vision. This British organization emphasizes critical thinking and abilities such as arguing, challenging inequities, and, like UNICEF, gives importance to individual and collective actions that, no matter how small, make a difference (Symeonidis, 2015).


Some government institutions and universities make Global Citizenship Education Strategies, based on the age-range they work, some perspectives are lighter, others more critical and post-colonial, but all with the same focus on preparing Global Citizens for a better future. As examples of countries that have inserted GCED into their school curricula, we find the Philippines and Thailand. The Philippines focuses on global and local knowledge based on economics and development and also seeks to teach digital skills and keys to facilitate students; future job searches. Interestingly, some activities are to train global citizens by including field trips and role-playing (UNICEF & SEAMEO, 2017). On the other hand, in Thailand, they are looking for ‘inculcating and strengthening morality, integrity, ethics, and desirable values and characteristics’ in students (UNICEF & SEAMEO, 2017, p. 9). It also includes training activities such as cultural days and awareness of the environment and sustainability.

The major aim of this new transformative learning strategy, no matter the organization’s perspective, is to build a better and more peaceful, empathetic, and sustainable world.

Brainwiz sees the need to inculcate these skills in young adults and hence has dedicated time and resources to develop content about Global Citizenship. Hence, we work with students and educators to help them include the topics of Global Citizenship, within their regular academics. Our online learning platform, BrainwizOnline is a perfect place for learners to enhance their 21st-century skills and Global Citizenship competencies, by just devoting a few minutes every week.

Wish to know more about our programs? Feel free to get in touch.


1. Florencia Linarez
2. Snigdhaa Ghai

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