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National Curriculum

Global dimension and sustainable development

Issues of global significance are brought into our lives in a way that they never were for previous generations. Global media and communications, travel and immigration mean that we now have much more exposure to people and cultures from many different parts of the world. This provides a tremendous range of positive opportunities to broaden young people‚Äôs experience and knowledge. At the same time, issues of poverty, inequality, conflict, and economic and environmental damage present major challenges for society. Education for the global dimension and sustainable development helps young people to appreciate these challenges and opportunities and to recognise their responsibilities as members of a global community. Download the global dimension and sustainable development overview.

A curriculum for the 21st century should encourage learners to be aware of global issues. Learners should evaluate information and events from a global perspective. By exploring the connections between the local and the global, they can also realise that it is possible to play a part in working towards solutions to challenges, such as climate change and global poverty. The global dimension incorporates global citizenship, conflict resolution, diversity, human rights, interdependence, social justice, sustainable development and values and perceptions.

Sustainable development has been described as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The goal of sustainable development is to enable all people throughout the world to satisfy their basic needs and enjoy a better quality of life, without transferring problems to people in other parts of the world or compromising the quality of life of future generations.

Global learning and education for sustainability address environmental, social and economic issues that are of importance to young people. This can make learning more relevant to their lives and have a positive impact on engagement and achievement. Working towards sustainable development goals can also increase the sense of purpose felt by young people as they develop into responsible citizens.

Exploring the challenges faced by society provides practical dilemmas for young people to consider. This can lead to an understanding that both action and inaction have consequences, and that everyone has a role to play in building global understanding and a sustainable future. This can help develop positive attitudes towards themselves, each other and the environment, and equip young people to make informed judgments and act with integrity.

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