Mainstreaming SDG 4.7 in Schooling: The State of Education for Peace, Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship

2 November 2017, Paris:

UNESCO MGIEP officially launched the new publication Rethinking Schooling for the 21st Century: The State of Education for Peace, Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship in Asia on 2 November 2017 in Paris at the UNESCO General Conference. This report involved more than 60 researchers from 22 countries in Asia and is based on the content analysis of key education policy and curricular documents from these countries and an extensive review of literature on Asian schooling. It seeks to develop benchmarks against which future progress can be assessed. It also argues forcefully that conceptions of the fundamental purposes of schooling need to be configured, if the ideals of SDG 4.7 to which the global community has subscribed are actually to be realized.

The launch event highlighted the challenges and promises of mainstreaming SDG 4.7 in national education systems, with a particular focus on integration into core subjects such as Sciences, Mathematics and Languages. The global indicator of SDG 4.7 is: “extent to which (i) global citizenship education and (ii) education for sustainable development, including gender equality and human rights, are mainstreamed at all levels in (a) national education policies, (b) curricula, (c) teacher education and (d) student assessment.” This provides an unprecedented opportunity to integrate peace, sustainable development and global citizenship in the core curriculum. In addition to Rethinking Schooling, the event featured two more recent UNESCO publications: UNESCO Headquarters’ Education for Sustainable Development Goals: Learning Objectives and UNESCO MGIEP’s Textbooks for Sustainable Development – A Guide to Embedding.

 The launch event was opened by welcoming remarks by Mr Anantha Duraiappah, Director of UNESCO MGIEP, and Ms Gabriele Scheel, Deputy Permanent Delegate, Permanent Delegation of Germany to UNESCO. Ms Scheel highlighted the UNESCO MGIEP publication Textbooks for Sustainable Development – A Guide to Embedding as the result of a strategic partnership between UNESCO MGIEP and Engagement Global, a German government organization belonging to the BMZ (German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development), which implements the BMZ programmes in the area of development education and education for sustainable development (ESD).  Germany is spearheading the effort to mainstream SDG 4.7 into schooling by developing a “Curriculum Framework for ESD”.

Following the opening, in the panel presentations moderated by Ms Yoko Mochizuki (UNESCO MGIEP), the lead authors of the three featured publications and the Director of the Global Education Monitoring Report shared their insights on implementing and monitoring SDG 4.7.

First, Mr. Edward Vickers (Kyushu University, Japan) presented the key findings of the “Rethinking Schooling” report, including seven regional trends, three challenges and four recommendations.

In response, Mr Manos Antoninis (Global Education Monitoring Report) welcomed the publication, arguing that SDG 4.7 is at the heart of the new development agenda but admittedly monitoring progress is challenging. The use of the 1974 UNESCO Recommendation as a source of information on the global indicator is reasonable in the sense that it is institutionalized in an existing and country-owned process. However, Mr Antoninis argued, the self-reported information may struggle to receive wider recognition. Noting that assessment should not just list countries on the basis of some performance measure but also be formative, he commended the ‘Rethinking Schooling’ study, whose methodological approach involved an independent review of policy and curricular documents by national experts and whose recommendations can help countries understand how they can improve.

The third presentation was delivered by Mr Marco Rieckmann (University of Vechta, Germany), a contributing author of Education for Sustainable Development Goals: Learning Objectives.  Mr Rieckmann pointed out that ESD is not a topic, but an educational concept to be integrated as a cross-cutting approach in all core subjects. Finally, Mr Ronald Johnston (University South Wales, UK ), a coordinating lead author of the science chapter of Textbooks for Sustainable Development – A Guide to Embedding, briefly introduced how we can put ESD at the core of each subject, rather than being addressed as a separate ‘box’ in a textbook or case study on the fringes of the curriculum. He concluded his presentation by calling for a textbook that that fosters mutually supportive learning outcomes through a strong alliance of ESD with subject-specific knowledge and encourages movement towards a fully integrated curriculum with embedded ESD at its centre.

Japan and Germany, among other countries, have been particular champions of ESD, and the launch event was organized in partnership with the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO, the Permanent Delegation of Germany to UNESCO, and the German Commission for UNESCO. Mr Kazuyuki Mikami (Chairperson, Education Subcommittee, Japanese National Commission for UNESCO; President, Miyagi University of Education, Japan) delivered closing remarks, and the event concluded with the official Launch of Rethinking Schooling for the 21st Century: The State of Education for Peace, Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship in Asia.
The event was generously supported by Engagement Global.

Download full report here:
Rethinking Schooling for the 21st Century: The State of Education for Peace, Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship in Asia

To download individual sections:

Definition of SDG 4.7: Rethinking-Schooling-SDG 4.7 Definition
Foreword: Rethinking-Schooling-Foreword
Director’s message:Rethinking-Schooling-Director’s Message
Acknowledgments: Rethinking-Schooling-Acknowledgements
Contents:Rethinking-Schooling-Table of contents
List of Tables, Figures and Boxes: Rethinking-Schooling-List of Tables, Figures and Boxes
Executive Summary: Rethinking-Schooling-Executive Summary


Part 1: Key Regional findings

Preface: Rethinking-Schooling-Preface part1
Chapter 1: Rethinking Schooling Chapter 1
Chapter 2: Rethinking-Schooling-Chapter 2

Part 2: sub-Regional Syntheses
Preface:Rethinking-Schooling-Preface part 2

Chapter 3:Rethinking-Schooling-Chapter 3
Chapter 4:Rethinking-Schooling-chapter 4
Chapter 5:Rethinking-Schooling-Chapter 5
Chapter 6:Rethinking-Schooling-chapter 6


Ways Forward


For more information please contact:

Ms. Yoko Mochizuki :



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