Global Development Education in the Czech Republic


Definition

In the Czech Republic, the term GDE is understood as ‘a process of lifelong learning which contributes to understanding the differences and similarities between people’s lives in different parts of the world and facilitates the understanding of economic, social, political, environmental, and cultural processes that affect them’. It hones skills and fosters values and attitudes so that people are able and willing to actively participate in solving local and global problems.


The Strategy for Global Development Education and Awareness of Global Contexts for the period 2018–2030 states as its main goals “to ensure access to information on global development for all Czech citizens, to motivate them to take an active approach to responding to global challenges and equip them with the necessary competences that could help them participate in sustainable development.”

Aim and Vision

The main guarantor of GDE is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the most important conceptual document is the Strategy for Global Development Education and Awareness of Global Contexts for the period 2018–2030. The Strategy outlines the basic visions, foundations, principles, goals, and themes of global education, including how to integrate them into formal and non-formal education at all levels, public awareness, capacity building, and partnership between actors. According to the Strategy, the main goal of GDE is to support people’s ability to understand political, economic, social, environmental, and cultural processes at the global and local levels and to understand how they relate to each other. It also aims to raise awareness of global and development issues among experts and the wide public. The fulfillment of this goal should be ensured by cooperation with non-profit and academic sectors and the public. The MFA, through its Council for Foreign Development Cooperation and the Government Council for Sustainable Development, regularly informs the Government, the Parliament, and experts about  the fulfillment of the main strategic goals in the development and humanitarian area. The cooperation between the Council for Foreign Development Cooperation and the Government Council for Sustainable Development in the area of education and awareness raising is also to be strengthened in order to ensure linking GDE to the broader thematic area of ​​education for sustainable development.

GDE stakeholders
    • The Ministry of Forreign Affairs is the main guarantor of the GDE agenda. It is responsible for the coordination of the foreign development cooperation, including GDE as its integral part. It also aims to raise awareness of global issues and contexts by supporting awareness-raising activities. Fusthermore, it coordinates the creation of a national strategy and action plan, including regular evaluations. Together with the Czech Development Agency, it decides on the allocation of funds intended for GDE. It also regularly organizes meetings of the expert working group on GDE, in which delegates from other responsible ministries, institutions, the non-profit sector, and other actors are represented and jointly discuss ongoing conceptual changes and necessary steps.
    • The Czech Development Agency is responsible for the implementation and financing of bilateral development cooperation projects, including GDE projects. Together with the MFA and the MoE, it participates in the preparation of conceptual documents and at the same time mediates the transfer of information between the civic sector, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • The Ministry of Education is the main coordinator of pre-school, primary, secondary, and higher education, including international exchange programs between these institutions. In the area of GDE, the MoE focuses on incorporating global topics into formal education, for instance through Framework Educational Programs. MoE works closely with the National Pedagogical Institute (NPI).
  • The National Pedagogical Institute is an institution under the Ministry of Education. The NPI helps the MoE to develop the educational system, provides counseling, and offers opportunities for further education for teachers. The NPI is responsible for preparation of Framework Educational Programs and is actively involved in the process of their revision.
  • The Ministry of the Environment works closely with the Ministry of Education in the area of environmental education and education for sustainable development, since topics of GDEl are often reflected in discussions on climate change and environmental issues both within and outside educational institutions.
  • The Czech School Inspectorate (CSI) ensures the control of the quality and effectiveness of educational  programs. In the area of GDE, it mainly monitors the manner and intensity of the integration of GDE topics into school curricula and into the teaching methods used. The first national CSI survey on the integration of GDE into schools took place at primary and secondary schools in 2016 and evaluated as positive mainly the wide range of teaching methods and the number of participating schools. For the future, it mainly recommended putting more emphasis on not only environmental but also global and development issues.
  • The Czech Council for Children and Youth, which covers one hundred associations of children and youth, brings the topics of GDE to the area of non-formal education and extracurricular activities for children and youth.
  • Other important bodies  include the Council for Foreign Development Cooperation and the Government Council for Sustainable Development, which comment on important strategic documents. The Government Council for Sustainable Development, chaired by the Prime Minister, is an advisory body to the Government responsible for inter-sectoral coordination of the sustainable development policy between and among central administrative authorities.
  • Part of the latter council, the Committee for Education for Sustainable Development is mainly responsible for incorporating the principles of education for sustainable development into the relevant documentation in accordance with the objectives of the Strategic Framework for Sustainable Development  Czech Republic 2030.
  • NGOs carry out educational activities in schools as well as awareness-raising events for the public or formal meetings for the representatives of the state administration. Many non-profit organizations and educational institutions are associated with the Czech Forum for Development Cooperation (FoRS), which is a platform of 34 civil society organizations operating in the field of development cooperation, humanitarian aid, and GDE.
  • Universities in the Czech Republic are the main institutions supporting research and development in the area of GDE. The faculties of education work closely with non-profit organizations and integrate GDE topics and methods into the education of future teachers.
GDE in the national curriculum

The main emphasis in the area of GDE is on more effective integration of global development issues into the formal and non-formal education system, and the provision of the necessary methodological support for educators, because even though the awareness of development cooperation and humanitarian aid is gradually increasing, the GDE topics are still not sufficiently reflected in the education system and there is a lack of a long-term educational policy and systematic methodological support for teachers in the area of GDE. The methodological support is currently provided mainly through projects of non-government organizations. The GDE strategy develops specific objectives for greater integration of GDE into (1) formal education, (2) non-formal education, (3) public awareness, (4) capacity building and partnerships, (5) linking GDE to other policies and areas. The GDE Action plan sets out specific indicators and identifies the institutions responsible for their implementation.

The Strategy concludes that, at the moment, it is essential to include GDE in the Framework Educational Programs (FEPs) that are currently under revision in the form of a cross-cutting theme. It is very important to promote GDE as a separate topic in the revision of the FEPs, or, at least, incorporate it in a way that sufficiently emphasizes the topic across the curriculum and reflects its complexity. In addition, the fundamental precondition for the successful implementation of GDE activities is the strengthening of the active role of the Ministry of Education, especially at the decision-making and strategy-making levels, and integrating the results of strategic planning into the educational system. Another prerequisite is the inclusion of GDE into the framework of Education for sustainable development in close cooperation with the Government Council for Sustainable Development.


In 2020, the Ministry of Education issued the Strategy for the educational policy of the Czech Republic 2030+. The strategy document states that the main goal of education is to form  motivated individuals who can use their potential both for the benefit of their own development and for the benefit of the development of the whole society. The strategy has two principal goals, one of which aims to focus education more on acquiring the competencies needed for active civic, professional, and personal life.

GDE in the non-formal system

Non-formal education focuses on the development of the necessary competencies in the area of GDE outside the framework of the formal educational curriculum. In the area of GDE, these activities focus primarily on strengthening the relationship with the environment and on promoting a healthy lifestyle with an emphasis on the interconnection between local and global aspects of coexistence and the consequent responsibility for sustainable development. Non-formal education is understood to be an area that is very closely linked to formal education and whose main goal is to complement formal educational programs. The interconnection of the two areas can be seen, for example, in the fact that both have their goals defined in the GDE Strategy and their indicators specified in the GDE Action Plan. The Youth Strategy 2014-2020 also deals with non-formal education; however, it focuses on non-formal education in general rather than the area of ​​GDE specifically.


There is no difference made between formal and non-formal education projects in the funding provided by the MFA: both can apply under the same granting scheme. The Ministry of Education announces a special granting title for the State Support for Work with Children and Youth for Non-Profit Organizations (NGOs), which focuses primarily on regular and long-term activities for the widest variety of children and youth possible and on NGOs working with them.

Teachers competences development mechanisms (initial training & life-long training)

Several stakeholders focus on the development of teachers‘ competencies, including the MoE, the NPI and educational and non-profit organizations. Programmes for teachers include various in-service training courses, mostly focusing on GDE topics and methods. They include short-term courses (e.g. one-day courses) or long-term courses or summer schools. As far as long-term courses are concerned, the 80-hour Critical Thinking and Global Issues by ARPOK is a good example.

Some programs are country specific, others are based on global concepts and have only been adapted to local conditions. Many schools are also actively involved in one of the long-term cooperation programs, which include a large number of activities not only to strengthen the competencies of students but also of the teachers themselves. The following is not an exhaustive list, it only includes a list of selected concepts: 

  • Active citizens – the program focuses on secondary school teachers and students. Teachers and students seek to strengthen local cohesion, the role of leaders within communities, as well as the ability of communities to take an active part in solving local problems. For instance, schools mapped the situation in their surrounding community, defined its needs, and contributed specific steps to the solution within the project teams.
  • Global Action Schools – At present, the Global Action Schools program can boast 101 Czech pre-schools, primary, and secondary schools. The basic philosophy supports the education and preparation of students for real life in a globalized world and is based on a simple three-step methodology: learn – investigate – act. The program was awarded  a GENE Award in 2021.
  • Schools for sustainable life – Students in these schools, along with other community partners, think about what they can do to develop their community or school surroundings. Together, they gradually implement the proposed changes and thus change the place where they live and learn for the better. Everything happens with respect to the sustainable development of the place and the world and is thus a practical example of fulfilling the SDGs and the Strategic Framework of the Czech Republic 2030+ at the local level.
  • Eco-schools – The Eco-school program is intended for pre-schools, and primary and secondary schools. Eco-schools reduce their impact on the environment and also make their environment more pleasant for students and school staff. They also place great emphasis on involving parents and other people from the local community from the earliest stages of the project implementation.
  • Fairtrade schools – The status of Fairtrade schools can be obtained by schools at all levels of the education system. They show their social responsibility and interest in GDE . The campaign aims to raise awareness in the area of fair trade and to support the sale of fair trade products in the given place.
Promotion of GDE, media campaigns and publications

The promotion of GDE is largely linked to public awareness projects implemented by NGOs. Their goal is to provide the experts and wide public with information on development issues, the current situation in the world and global challenges in the form of publications, seminars, exhibitions, media outputs, campaigns, and so on. The following is not an exhaustive list, it only includes a selected campaigns or events:

  • One World (by People in Need) is an international Human Rights Film Festival. The 23rd year of One World will screen 101 documentaries from 50 countries, and viewers can look forward to more than 40 discussions within the One World Live programme in 2021. 
  • SDGs Awards (by the Association of Social Responsibility) awards the best projects for fulfilling the UN Sustainable Development Goals in the country. This year will also bring, among other things, a free educational program called the SDGs Academy which will introduce a series of educational events presented by top experts in the field.
  • E-TICK (by INEX-SDA) is an e-learning course on ethical communication that won the GENE Award in 2021.
  • Scouts and Guides: Active Global Citizens (by NaZemi) is a project that aims to increase the role Scouts and Guides play in promoting human rights, equality and justice in the world. The project was awarded  a GENE Award in 2018.
  • In the Shadow of a Cocoa Tree (by Fairtrade CZSK) is a documentary about cocoa farming in the Ivory Coast, which was awarded at the Agrofilm film festival by the FAO Osiris Prize for the best elaboration of an international theme.
  • E.ON Energy Globe (by E.ON) is a competition that rewards projects and ideas that help save nature and energy. It helps to raise the profile of projects that deserve attention for their innovative approach to energy saving and environmental protection. The projects compete with each other in six categories: Company, Product, Municipality, Education, Construction and Idea.
  • The EDUin Award (by EDUin) is an award for innovation in education. The competition presents interesting projects in Czech formal and non-formal education that bring inspiring changes, draws attention to programs supporting the teaching profession, promotes inspiring projects and introduces them to the professional and general public.
  • Comic competitions (by ADRA and People in Need) are intended for primary and secondary school students and every year they focus on acquainting students with a different topic. Students can also take part in various accompanying activities, such as lectures and workshops, and win interesting prizes.
  • Teaching about Global Contexts (by ARPOK) in an annual GDE conference. At the regional level, the event makes it possible to connect actors in education, introduce them to GDE, inspire and provide a space for discussion on current issues. In previous years, the conference has focused on areas such as the SDGs, the image of developing countries in the media, or sustainable development in school life.
Global Education Week in Czechia

In November 2020, the seventh year of the Global Education Week (GEW) took place in the Czech Republic. This is a very important event that provides an opportunity to look deeper into global and development issues and discuss how to get all the information across to the youth and the wide public. GEW focuses on formal and non-formal education, and awareness-raising. Over the years, it has had many forms – public film screenings, exhibitions, project days, teaching lessons, lectures, workshops, and expert round tables. The aim of this event is to raise awareness of the concept of GDE and to bring together all those who seek to promote topics related to equality, justice, and sustainability in education. Since 2017, the Czech Forum for Development Cooperation (FoRS) has been organizing the Festival of GDE, which is an opportunity for all GDE stakeholders to actively participate in the event and gain new knowledge and skills or share their own experience.

The fact that the event takes place under the international patronage of the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe gives the event the necessary prestige. Thanks to this, FoRS also annually gets patronage from ministries such as MFA, MoEducation, or MoEnvironment. What we appreciate in particular is the international scope of the event – the common topic shared across nations as well as the international cooperation with other members of the Global Education Network. It  is a unique opportunity to inspire each other and, therefore, to make each other stronger.

Kontakty


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