SDG 4 - Ensure quality education for all

©Marlene Göntgen

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which address different environmental, economic and social areas of life, outline a new and ambitious global agenda. Central to achieving real progress in these areas is that all children and young people worldwide receive quality education. Education plays an important role regarding the SDGs.

SDG 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning

Within the NorthSouthDialogue of Parliaments SDG 4 is a focus of cooperation. It was chosen by the two parliaments as a priority theme and will be discussed by the Joint Parliamentary Peer Group both in the respective countries and in the exchange of experiences.

Investment in education is an essential factor in the development of a country and its people. Education equips learners of all ages with the skills and values ​​necessary to be responsible global citizens. The identification of the individual as a world citizen is essential for the achievement of all SDGs.

SDG 4.7 - Global Citizenship Education

World-wide related challenges such as climate change or financial crises, as well as the conflicting nature of international relations, highlight the urgent need to sensitize people in Europe to global issues and the interdependence between the EU and the so-called developing countries. Education in this context must empower people to deal critically with global developments, to understand the complexity and diversity of perspectives, to think about fairness, and jugde globalization phenomena related to their everyday lives and actions.

Global Citizenship Education is an internationally recognized pedagogical research and practice field. It is sub-goal 4.7. of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Goal 4.7: 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.

Global Citizenship is a controversial concept, with which, however, important starting points for the educational work can be combined:

  • Reference to membership in a (political) community that goes beyond the nation state and addresses the role of individuals as world citizens;
  • Attention to connected duties and rights of all human beings as actors, for example, shared ecological responsibility or social participation through democratic participation.

In this context, Global Citizenship Education focuses both on the competences of global citizens as critical world citizens, as well as on the structural framework conditions that must be present for the implementation of the concept.

Global Citizenship Education in Austria

©Majercik

Global Citizenship Education combines political education, global education, peace education, intercultural education and sustainable development education, and sets a new direction for these pedagogical approaches with a focus on global citizenship.

In Austria, Department VI/1 "EU Coordination and Multilateral Affairs" of the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research is responsible for Global Citizenship Education. The department relies on a supra-institutional cooperation with actors from various fields. At the moment there is a discussion about the creation of an orientation framework for transformative education, which should show existing potentials for transformative education in the Austrian educational system.

The Global Education Network Europe (GENE) networks with ministries of foreign affairs and education and acts as a joint lobbying body for Global Learning, Global Citizenship Education and Development Education in Europe.

The portal for global learning in Austria offers extensive information on GCE in Austria and internationally. The Strategy Group Global Learning has existed since 2003 and acts as a transdisciplinary body for the further development and strengthening of global learning in Austria.

UNESCO has named Global Citizenship Education as one of its pedagogical guidelines in 2013. The Austrian UNESCO Commission supports the implementation of Agenda 2030 in Austria, especially in the field of education, through the advisory board "Transformative Education/Global Citizenship Education".

The university course "Global Citizenship Education" is a 6-semester master's program at the Alpen Adria University Klagenfurt. The university course forms a network of graduates who apply and disseminate Global Citizenship Education in their professional fields.

Numerous NGOs work in the field of Global Education, Global Citizenship Education, for example BAOBAB (Library for Global Learning), SÜDWIND or KommEnt, the ÖFSE (Austrian Research Foundation for International Development).