UNESCO’s progress report on Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship Education highlights critical need for teacher training

11 December 2018

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UNESCO released the findings of the 6th Consultation on the implementation of the 1974 Recommendation concerning Education for International Understanding, Co-operation and Peace and Education relating to Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom titled: “Progress on Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship Education”. The report provides a summary analysis on the self-reported responses from 83 countries that participated in the 6th Consultation on the implementation of the 1974 Recommendation, covering the period of 2012 to 2016.

As endorsed by the UNESCO Executive Board (199 EX/Decisions 14.III) in 2016, UNESCO uses its quadrennial reporting mechanism for the 1974 Recommendation to collect data and report on indicator 4.7.1

For the 6th Consultation data collection process, UNESCO revised the reporting guidelines and questionnaire in order to align them with the concepts in the global indicator for Target 4.7, indicator 4.7.1. As a result, the structure of the report is designed to focuses on the extent to which the Guiding Principles of the 1974 Recommendation, covering key topics of Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship Education, are mainstreamed in (a) national education policies, (b) curricula, (c) teacher education and (d) student assessment.

One of the key findings of the report highlights the insufficient teacher training programmes on the Guiding Principles of the 1974 Recommendation. According to the data provided by the 83 participating countries, both pre-service and in-service teacher training programmes on the Guiding Principles are reported as less than sufficient level. Globally, 75% of countries (61 countries) reported that the Guiding Principles are “somewhat reflected” in pre-service teacher training. The rate is highest in Africa (92%) while Asia and the Pacific countries have the highest (23%) rate of “not at all reflected”.

Figure: Countries reporting on reflection of the Guiding Principles in pre-service teacher training, by region (in %)

This trend is striking as country responses also indicate a relatively high level of policy commitment to the Guiding Principles, which could indicate a readiness to invest in teacher training in order to implement the Guiding Principles but also possible challenges in taking forward the high level of policy commitment.

Based on self-reported responses by 83 countries to the 6th Consultation questionnaire, UNESCO has developed a methodology for the measurement and reporting of indicator 4.7.1 of Target 4.7. The methodology was endorsed by the Technical Cooperation Group (TCG) on the Indicators for SDG 4-Education 2030 during its fourth meeting in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in January 2018. Currently, UNESCO is in the process of developing the questionnaire for the 7th Consultation that will be launched in 2020.