Global Citizenship Education tested in Kiryandongo District

Friday, 29th June 2018 by Vincent Ogal Within the framework of the 2030 Education Agenda, the Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU) has been working with four countries (Cambodia, Colombia, Mongolia, Uganda) from 2016 to mainstream GCED in the countries’ education system through implementing GCED Curriculum Development and Integration Project. In line with this, Uganda National Commission for UNESCO and the National Curriculum Development Center in partnership with the Asia-Pacific Centre for International Education (APCEIU) has concluded a 2-day monitoring exercise in the District of Kiryandongo which ran from Tuesday 26th – Wednesday 27th June 2018 focusing on schools implementing the new Global Citizenship Education (GCED) Curriculum. The team comprising of officials from UNATCOM, NCDC and APCEIU arrived in the district on Tuesday morning before making a stopover at the District Headquarters and later setting out to visit Arnold primary school and Bidong primary schools both located in the Kiryandongo refugee settlement. The main objective was to document the progress, challenges and achievements made by the schools since the inception of GCED in the schools and neighboring host and refugees communities in the district. This activity follows the third phase of GCED Curriculum Development and Integration and benefited mainly the refugee communities living in the district which comprises of the displaced school going children from the neighboring South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo which makes approximately 95% and 3% respectively with the remaining percentage being the children from the host community. Ms. Rosie Agoi, the Secretary General of the National Commission who led the delegation informed the officer in charge of education at the district that Global Citizenship Education falls under Sustainable Development Goal 4 which talks about ‘ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all’ and specifically target 4.7. In Brief: Target 4.7 seeks to ensure that all learners acquire knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and cultural contribution to sustainable development. She noted that unlike other SDGs, Goal 4 has other peculiar issues that need to be addressed. It teaches pupils to learn to be acquainted with the knowledge on the education for sustainable development and global citizenship. Ms. Agoi stated, “It promotes living together, respect for human beings and environment, changing behavior so that we learn to live without discrimination peace and harmony.” During the visit to Arnold Memorial primary school which has a population of approximately 4000 pupils, Mr. Morris Ocheing the focal person in the school informed the visiting team that before the integration GCED, refugee pupils in the school were very violent to each with cases of fights reported nearly everyday but this situation has since changed because the pupils have learnt to live together and this, he attributed to GCED. “The learners have learnt how to work together, respect each other and live in harmony with one another,” Morris reported. Meanwhile Ms. Alinda Gertrude, a teacher at the same institution believes that teaching GECD will help link the pupils to the national and international world. “It will lead to unity and promote diversity among the pupils”, stated Ms. Alinda. Among some of the activities that the school has been able to implement in response to the GCED curriculum include;
  •          Formation of drama clubs to provide a platform for sharing knowledge
  •          Installation of talking compounds with GCED messages to help raise awareness
  •          Planting trees to conserve environment and limit the impact of climate change with the school premises
  •         Involving and sensitizing Board members, staff and parents on the concept of GCED.
  •          Installation of ramps to aide access to facilities by pupils with physical disabilities.
  •         Organizing sporting events in the school mainly to foster unity among pupils and parents.
  •    Teaching of GCED messages in subjects such as social studies and science.
In the neighboring Bidong primary schools which has a population of 2253, several progress has been made towards the integration of GCED. An interview with the Head teacher Mr. John Okwaroi revealed that, the school through the governing board came up with an action plan which guided the implementation of GCED in the school. Among activities implemented include teaching GCED in the social studies and science subjects, tree planting around the school community, installation of wastage collection bins and recycling of waste products among others. Ms. Agoi advised the teachers to love what they do and work with a passion for the good of the country. She also advised the pupils to love one another and embrace the diversity that exists among them. Ms. Agoi in an interview stated that, “our key values in GCED are based on the principals of unity in diversity, peace, learning to live together and of no discrimination but above all we want our learners to love their country and respect the values.” She also noted that, in the materials circulated to the schools, elements of patriotism have been stressed. Mr. Patrice Ssembirige, a curriculum specialist at the National Curriculum Development (NCDC) and focal person overseeing the integration of GECD in Uganda stated that Uganda and the Ministry of Education and Sports is taking this process of integration very seriously for various reasons, namely;
  •   Developing attitude of learners of caring for others, and developing their competence to promote the aspect of living together in peace hence promoting human rights.
  •  Teaching the learners to care for the environment, learn basic governance structures at local, national and international levels that are responsible for developing responsible citizens aware of the happenings in their community and beyond.
  •  Empower learners with competences and skills to relate with others to appreciate the multiple diversities that exist.
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