In the Republic of Malta, Global Citizenship Education (GCED) is being implemented through religious and ethics education and social studies in primary and secondary schools. Since 2015, it is a legal requirement for schools to implement education that prevents people from being drawn into violent extremism.
David Degabriele, Assistant Director of Curriculum at the Directorate for Learning and Assessment Programmes of Malta’s Ministry for Education and Employment said: “It is a matter of fact that violent extremism does not know any boundaries irrespective of race, gender, age and other characteristics. Malta is no exception to this and with today’s immediacy, instant sharing of world news and instant and uncontrolled communication methods, dealing with different cultures, values, believes and ways of lives are bringing new challenges that need to be addressed.”
According to Mr Degabriele, this approach to GCED changed the focus of learning from a wholly content-oriented programme to one that is student-focused.
‘’We switched from learning questions and answers to discussions of personal experiences and responses; and from differences being defined denominationally within the tradition, to an acknowledgment of the variety of people in Maltese society today and respect for the diversity of their religions and beliefs.’’
He said implementing GCED on the island was facilitated by UNESCO’s guidance documents and in particular, the Teacher’s Guide on the Prevention of Violent Extremism.
In reviewing how GCED can be embedded in curricula, a Learning Outcomes Framework was produced which would be implemented in the school year 2018-2019.
Mr Degabriele, who took part as a National Expert in the EU Commission’s working group in Brussels on promoting citizenship and the common values of freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination through education, said: ‘’Increasingly, the need for professional education resources is being felt. As educators, our endeavours in promoting solidarity, a sense of belonging and responsibility are never enough. We as educators have an important role to play in pupils’ holistic formation and hence the high degree of relevance of [UNESCO] Teachers’ Guide.”
Since its inception, UNESCO has been committed to promoting a culture of peace and non-violence, particularly through Global Citizenship Education (GCED). GCED aims to empower young people to become active contributors to face and resolve global challenges and build a more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive and secure world. GCED is highlighted in Target 4.7 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.