Understanding Globalisation Issues
An educational programme to enhance understanding of globalisation issues and their impact on development
To increase opportunity for teachers and students to learn directly and indirectly about issues related to globalisation and its impact on development.
The last two years has seen a trend to more polarised attitudes toward globalisation, and the value of capitalism and the free market. Following the anti-capitalist demonstrations, from Seattle in late 1999 to Genoa in 2001, the Prime Minister has spoken on more than one occasion of the need for a greater understanding of the issues in order to prevent further polarisation. The terrorist attacks on New York on 11 September 2001 were clear indication of polarised views about global governance, cultural beliefs, and the divisions in the world. There is now an urgent need to work collectively to ensure that globalisation is not only understood, but becomes a real force for good for all people.
Among young people, understanding of the issues surrounding globalisation is generally low, in contrast to the speed of growth of world interdependence. One consequence of this is that many people are growing up with a superficial and partial view of what should be done, whether by governments, by corporations or by themselves as citizens.
This has been recognised by many teachers, who have approached us among others to help close the gap in topical coverage of globalisation issues for classroom use. At conferences in July 2001 and 2002, 6th form students and their teachers from a range of London schools came together for a day to work on case material presented by a range of contributors from different sectors, including business, civil society, government and media. Plenary sessions were kept to a minimum, with most learning being done in small groups with multi-sector representation. Teachers were unanimous in commending the opportunity we had created as one means of contributing to learning about these issues, particularly the direct involvement of practitioners with whom students could interact.
A curriculum-linked programme to encourage deeper learning about globalisation is therefore needed, whereby students are given that essential broad base of empirical knowledge and understanding that will enable them to take a reasoned view of the world. Such a programme demands commitment from both government and business if it is to have the essential credibility and gravitas that is needed. We propose the formation of a small consortium of government and private sector companies to underwrite and support it. Worldaware will act as secretariat, programme co-ordinator, and project manager.
This project will develop and implement a replicable model for delivering a programme of learning about globalisation, including its implications for developing country economies. The programme will be designed to suit a range of humanities subjects, including citizenship, as well as business studies, economics, and religious education. The project will be developed in conjunction with business, government, education advisers and NGOs. It will be jointly funded by government and business, with the latter providing the lion's share. Following a launch of the aims of the programme, work will proceed under the guidance of a steering group, formed from all three groups. The steering group will be guided by the education community as to what best meets the classroom needs. It is envisaged that the programme will have at least three components:
- practical interaction sessions between students, teachers, and practitioners in globalised trade and investment. These could, for example, build on the successful model piloted by Worldaware in July 2001 and subsequently in 2002 (see above).
- development of supporting materials and teaching resources for classroom use. These would be derived from practical examples of development in action, as agreed and advised by the steering group. It is possible that some of these will come from the case studies used in the first component.
- the setting up of a panel of advisers to assist teachers and possibly to contribute directly in schools. The aim would be to give teachers access to relevant experts who could not only help them with curriculum support, but who would be available to talk to students and discuss aspects of the globalisation agenda. A link with Business in the Community would be sought, so as to provide as much local assistance as possible.
The details of each component would need to be developed by the steering group, but it would be important that the whole was seen as a single, coherent programme, perhaps 'branded' accordingly. Delivery of the programme should as far as possible include the involvement of local Development Education Centres.
The establishment of a steering group to determine and implement a programme of assistance to teachers on aspects of globalisation and development; (depending on the decisions of the steering group) the establishment of nine annual regional seminars at GCSE/6th form level to increase understanding of globalisation and global citizenship; the development of teaching materials on globalisation for classroom use; and the establishment of a panel of practitioners/advisers on global trade and investment for teachers to draw on in planning and delivering lessons.
Budget and sponsorship levels
A detailed budget will depend partly on the overall level of investment available, and partly on initial decisions taken by the steering group; but a viable programme would require a minimum annual total of £160k per year, plus 'in kind' support involving advice to schools and participation as necessary in events. It is envisaged that, in addition to a small government contribution, a number of corporate sponsors would form the consortium and contribute the major share of funding. The involvement of a number of companies would be important both to reduce the burden on sponsors and for the programme to be seen as a broadly supported venture.
Angus Willson, Director, Worldaware.
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