The Challenge of SDG

Capturing Transformative Change in Education: The Challenge of SDG Target 4.7
By Susan Gallwey, Irish Development Education Association (IDEA) – IDEA is one of our partners in the “Bridge 47 – Building Global Citizenship”

1. ‘By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the 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 a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.’ SDG Target 4.7

2. Many ‘educations’ are active in the area of Target 4.7, including Education for Sustainable Development, Education for Global Citizenship, Development Education, Human Rights Education, Peace Education, Intercultural Education… in IDEA we support all of the above.

3. ‘It is not enough for education to produce individuals who can read, write and count. Education must be transformative…It must give people the understanding, skills and values they need to cooperate in resolving the interconnected challenges of the 21st century.’ UN Global Education First Initiative 2013 Why is this target so exciting?

4. So it’s not just about providing education ‘over there’…. It’s also about transforming education EVERYWHERE.

5. Target 4.7 provides legitimacy for, and raises the profile of, Development Education in educational policy and practice.  It encourages Development Education programmes to clarify their purpose, measure progress and gather evidence of impact.  It can help to strengthen a global community of practice based on the values of Development Education. Target 4.7 brings major benefits

6. ‘Turf wars’ between the various educations named in Target 4.7 over how the indicators will be articulated.  The types of tools usually used to measure progress towards international development goals (e.g. Results Frameworks) are not well suited to measure progress towards 4.7, where change is complex, long-term and non- linear.  There is a risk that measurement will focus on what is easily measurable rather than on real critical engagement with sustainable development and global citizenship issues. But there are some major challenges:

7. The need to provide measurable ‘results’ The desire to promote long-term critical engagement with global justice issues Work of IDEA members in this area

8. Learner Changes in Knowledge, Skills and Values Education System Changes in Policy and Practice Society Changes that happen as a result of education Sites for Measuring Educational Change

9. This is an obvious way to measure progress towards Target 4.7, as we already have multiple systems in place for monitoring students’ learning.  Currently in Ireland the assessment of knowledge far outweighs the assessment of skills and values.  IDEA members have been working on ways to meaningfully track the development of young people’s skills and values for global citizenship and sustainable development. Measuring change….in learners

10. The course aims to provide students with the ‘awareness, knowledge, skills, values and motivation to live sustainably’. Students will be assessed through a Reflective Journal and Action Record, focusing on the development of skills for active citizenship — with students taking an active role in their own assessment. Tracking scores in this short course could be an effective way of measuring growth in the skills needed for sustainable development and global citizenship. Example from proposed Junior Cycle Short Course in Citizenship

11. We can track changes in educational policy —for example, DES’s new ESD strategy.  We can monitor the role of Development Education in Initial Teacher Education — for example, DICE and Ubuntu provide DE in ITE institutions and collect data on student-teacher engagement with DE.  It’s harder to monitor the extent and depth of DE in schools around Ireland as this is not required by the DES. However, some IDEA members have initiated work in this area, particularly WorldWise Global Schools. Measuring change…in educational policy and practice

12. The Global Passport scheme is a voluntary, self-assessed, externally audited accreditation scheme for second level schools. Schools are invited to collect ‘stamps’ for their Passport in 7 areas: Curriculum, Extra-Curricular, Teacher Capacity, Student Capacity, School Leadership, Policy & Ethos, and Respectful Relationships. Together, the 7 areas create a composite picture of a ‘global school’, allowing different schools to take different approaches. Progress towards the full ‘passport’ could be tracked as an indicator of how well school environments are helping to develop the knowledge and skills needed for global citizenship and sustainable development. Example from WorldWise Global Schools

13. Behavioural/Social change as a result of education interventions is very difficult to measure, particularly in the time-frame of most monitoring schemes.  Attribution vs contribution?  Critical engagement vs ‘clicktivism’?  Pre-determined outcomes can be very limiting. Track the actor rather than measure the action? Some IDEA members have been exploring this path. Measuring change in…society

14. SUAS measures the action dimension not by what actions are taken but by how participants engage with action options.  OUTCOME: Participants will be familiar with a range of action pathways which they can take to create positive change in the world  INDICATOR: Change in participants’ level of awareness of different ways that they can bring about positive change Scores on a ‘participation pathway rubric’ could be collected from a variety of DE projects and collated to track citizens’ ability to work effectively for a more just and sustainable world. Example from SUAS

15. Co-operation between the different ‘educations’ working towards target 4.7, particularly around the language used in indicators.  Recognition that progress towards target 4.7 happens at different sites and in different ways and therefore requires a diverse toolbox for monitoring.  Dialogue between practitioners, policy-makers and funders, especially in terms of using targets as a means of learning rather than as a means of control. The way forward…