Who should be responsible for teaching children about the world? You tell us

03 mars 2017 |

No one disagrees about the aim: to teach our children to become responsible, aware citizens of the world.

Education for global citizenship helps young people develop skills which allow them to actively engage with the world and therefore help to make it a more just and sustainable place.

The next question is less straightforward though: who is responsible for teaching them these values?

We surveyed the delegates attending this year’s Global Education and Skills Forum, asking them who they thought should be primarily responsible for global citizenship education. The answers show just how complex an issue this is.

Who do you think?

Let’s begin by looking at who delegates did not think was responsible. Interestingly, this was one area of consensus. Not a single delegate thought employers were primarily responsible for teaching children about the world.


Just under a quarter of delegates (22%) thought that local and national governments were primarily responsible for global citizenship education.

The rest of the votes were split between parents and teachers.

Perhaps surprisingly, less than a third of delegates (28%) thought parents were primarily responsible.

By far the most popular belief was teachers. Just under half (49%) thought that the responsibility fell primarily to teachers to educate their students about global citizenship.

Whole-school approach

Maybe it should be no surprise that delegates to the Global Education and Skills Forum believe so strongly in the power of teaching when it comes to this critical area.

They know that the best way to promote global citizenship is by taking a whole-school approach.

That means carrying out work in different spaces across the school – including within the curriculum, extra-curricular activities, teacher training and engaging the community.

It means doing it in a coordinated way.

Working holistically like this has more impact on young people, increasing the benefits for them as individuals, as learners and as future citizens.

Teaching young people that we have power as individuals, that each of us can change things and each of us has choices about how we behave is some of the most important work educators will ever do.

The Global Teacher Prize is a US $1 million award presented annually at the end of the Global Education & Skills Forum to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession. Taking place on the 19th March 2017 in Dubai, UAE, the award underlines the importance of educators – and in particular the challenges they all face in shaping and supporting the development of internationally minded citizens in our world.

Find out more here.