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Global citizenship education teaches young people to actively respond to the challenges facing our world today.

What is global citizenship education?

Global citizenship education equips young people to think critically about global challenges, inequalities and injustice. It educates young people to respond in ways that create a more equitable, inclusive and sustainable future. 

The Centres of Asia-Pacific Excellence have developed a framework for global citizenship education in Aotearoa New Zealand that is underpinned by three big ideas: 

  • Global identity

  • Global connections

  • Global responsibility

Global citizenship education is underpinned by three big ideas: identity, connections and responsibility.

© Centres of Asia-Pacific Excellence

  • Developing a global identity helps to strengthen young people’s awareness of who they are in the world through relationships with people, place, and environment.

  • Building global connections fosters curiosity to learn about, learn with and learn through cultures, languages, people and places within our local and global communities.   

  • Global responsibility encourages young people to identify, critically examine and creatively respond to the challenges, injustices and inequalities that face our world today.

In this clip, Hon Jan Tinetti, Associate Minister of Education, talks about the importance of global citizenship education and why developing global identity, building global connections and responding to global challenges are key components of global citizenship education.

Associate Minister of Education Hon Jan Tinetti talks about the importance of global citizenship education at the Growing Global Citizens in Aotearoa Teacher Forum 2021.

© Centres of Asia-Pacific Excellence

Global citizenship education in The New Zealand Curriculum

Global citizenship education is not a stand-alone subject or curriculum area. It is interdisciplinary in nature, drawing on concepts, knowledge, skills and understandings from a wide range of learning areas. 

For example, in The New Zealand Curriculum, global citizenship education is embedded within the vision, principles and key competencies. It is integrated throughout the social studies, geography, history, learning languages, health and physical education, arts and economics learning areas. In Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, rangatahi are encouraged to contribute to Māori society and the wider world in effective and positive ways. 

Global citizenship education fosters curiosity, participation and contribution towards our global community.

© Yarruta, 123RF

Global citizenship education embraces a lifelong and life-wide approach to learning. It encompasses all ages and developmental stages, including early childhood, primary, secondary, tertiary and adult education. 

Global citizenship education utilises real-life contexts for learning. This life-wide approach makes use of authentic settings for learning and draws on the experience and expertise of members within the local and global community. 

In this clip, Libby Giles, Senior Strategist for Global Citizenship at St Cuthbert's College in Auckland, talks about how global citizenship education is embedded within the curriculum at St Cuthbert’s College.

Libby Giles from St Cuthbert's College in Auckland talks about global citizenship education at the Growing Global Citizens in Aotearoa Teacher Forum 2021.

© Centres of Asia-Pacific Excellence


What might happen if all young people in the world participate in global citizenship education?

  • What might our schools, kura and early learning centres look, sound, and feel like?

  • What might our local communities look, sound and feel like?

  • What might our world look, sound and feel like?

Some people say that the curriculum is already overcrowded and there is no place for global citizenship education. What do you say to this?

Useful links

Find out why global citizenship matters.

Visit the Ministry of Education’s Pūtātara website for ideas to  incorporate global citizenship and sustainability through the curriculum in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Explore UNESCO’s Global citizenship in Aotearoa website to learn more about the work that UNESCO New Zealand is doing to support global citizenship education.

Learn more about the history of global citizenship education.

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