Leading French network of rural vocational institutions puts Global Citizenship Education first

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© UNESCO

What skills do young people need to face the complexities of a globalized world? More than 250 educators, learners and school administrators from across France gathered to discuss the theme at a seminar entitled “Education aux autres et aux mondes held at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris on December 16.

The seminar, organized by the association Maisons familiales rurales (MFR), a leading education network offering alternative and vocational training in rural areas, also addressed concerns about a rise in youth radicalisation. Participants underlined the importance of offering holistic programmes that encompassed cognitive, socio-emotional and behavioural learning.

“It is our collective responsibility as parents, educators and community members to respond to the questions of youth, and to value their future as young citizens,” said an MFR administrator. “Citizenship education should not be only taught in a classroom. It is a learning process that involves dialogue and interacting with others in and out of schools.

“Young people experience citizenship in their daily lives, at school, in the work place and at home. Our challenge is to help them live by their values on a daily basis”.

Global Citizenship Education (GCED) is a strategic area of work for UNESCO’s education programme and aims to equip learners of all ages with values, knowledge and skills that empower them to be responsible global citizens.

During the seminar, MFR launched a pedagogical toolkit and video that provides assistance to educators and MFR administrators on how to integrate GCED into teaching and learning practices and the educational community at large. Learners benefiting from the MFR educational programmes presented a video they developed to promote respect for all and diversity.

The recommendations made during the seminar will serve for the development of the future educational strategy of MFR that will reaffirm GECD as a priority and scale up its implementation.

Speakers at the seminar included representatives of national youth organizations, the European Commission, Educasol and UNESCO’s Section for Health and Global Citizenship Education.

MFR is comprised of 440 associations training 70,000 pupils, apprentices and trainees, and more than 600 rural family centres across 30 other countries.