Why we need to care about global education

Why we need to care about global education

scarf global education

Leaving the world a little better: global education guiding and scouting

František Ficek has been a member of Junák - český skaut (The Czech scout organisation) since he was 7. Here, he reveals why global education is such an important part of Guiding and Scouting around the world…

The world is a vast place. Even though we occupy just a tiny place on this planet, we’re connected to other parts of it. In many cases, the actions of some regions have an enormous impact on other regions and their population.

Take your average morning. Where does the food you’re eating come from? Who made your TV or phone? Or the clothes you put on? Your favorite jeans may have components from Namibia, Australia, Tunisia, Benin, Italy, Japan and Ireland. Perhaps they have travelled more than you ever have. I find this interconnectedness both interesting and important, especially for young people.

That’s where global education comes in.

Global education is teaching us the interdependence of human society in the globalized world. It should bring greater appreciation of cultural diversity and justice, equity and human rights for all. It’s something worth fighting for within our worldwide Movement. Global education isn’t trying to introduce a new ideology into Guiding and Scouting, it is directing attention to the issues and topics that are already a core part of our teaching methodology.

Guiding and Scouting is a global movement which brings together people from all over the world. Global education is expanding this togetherness with broader aspects of how we are connected with one another and what consequences this relationship has.

Children or young adults in Bangladesh are spending 10 hours daily behind a sewing machine making cheap trendy clothes for their counterparts in Germany or the USA. Meanwhile kids in Ghana are scavenging on the world’s largest computer graveyard for precious metals and other valuables to survive. Where do these computers come from? All over the world. If your troop had a computer, it probably ended up there.  

There are 960,000 Scouts in Bangladesh’s national organization and almost 4 000 in Ghana’s. I see this as a pretty good reason for Guides and Scouts to get involved in global education and global issues. These things matter. Guides and Scouts have the power to transform knowledge into action.

WAGGGS and WOSM are a strong entity which can lead by example and be the change we want to see in the world. We don’t need to be superheroes, but if we do our bit, regardless of how much of a cliché this is, things can start moving in the right direction. The first step to change something is acknowledging it and educating ourselves about the issue. A collaborative project between eleven organizations and NGOs from Europe called Scouts and Guides: Active Global Citizens is currently taking place under auspices of WAGGGS and WOSM in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Germany, Greece, Poland and Scotland. This project aims to train global education leaders who will then spread their knowledge and skills among young Guides and Scouts. As a disclaimer I should probably mention that I am one of these leaders. Is this project taking place in your country? Are you interested in global education? Then you should definitely get involved!

“But what if I’m from one of the 100+ countries where this project isn’t taking place, what can I do?” 
Well that’s a good question. You can still organise a photo exhibit about food waste, a lecture about migration with a teacher from your school, cook dinner for your troop and use it to explore origins of your food, or try to minimise your troop’s waste production and write an article about your experience.  The opportunities are endless! – More ideas can be found at www.ScoutsGuidesThinkingGlobal.eu .

There’s much to be gained from global education. It demands respect, compassion and care for the world. If Guiding and Scouting can help educate young people about the world we live in, it’s a huge start.  Because it’s hard to leave the world a little better if you don’t even know what condition you found it in.

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