Measuring global citizenship education

A collection of practices and tools

The idea of global citizenship has existed for several millennia. In ancient Greece, Diogenes declared himself a citizen of the world, while the Mahaupanishads of ancient India spoke of the world as one family. Today, education for global citizenship is recognized in many countries as a strategy for helping children and youth prosper in their personal and professional lives and contribute to building a better world. This toolkit is intended to shed light on one aspect of operationalizing global citizenship education (GCED): how it can be measured.

This toolkit is the result of the collective efforts of the Global Citizenship Education Working Group (GCED-WG), a collegium of 90 organizations and experts co-convened by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Center for Universal Education (CUE) at the Brookings Institution, and the United Nations Secretary General’s Global Education First Initiative’s Youth Advocacy Group (GEFI-YAG). To gather the measurement tools in this collection, the working group surveyed GCED programs and initiatives that target youth (ages 15–24). For the purposes of this project, GCED was defined as any educational effort that aims to provide the skills, knowledge, and experiences and to encourage the behaviors, attitudes, and values that allow young persons to be agents of long-term, positive changes in their own lives and in the lives of people in their immediate and larger communities (with the community including the environment).

This toolkit begins with a brief review of opinions on why GCED is important and the variety of definitions of GCED. We follow the report with a catalog of 50 profiles of assessment efforts, each describing practices and tools to measure GCED at the classroom, local, and national levels. Note that the survey does not represent an exhaustive list but may be regarded as a living document that will grow as the field of GCED itself grows around the world.

Broadly speaking, the assessment efforts in this survey may be categorized across achieving three goals: (1) fostering the values/attitudes of being an agent of positive change; (2) building knowledge of where, why, and how to take action toward positive change; and (3) developing self-efficacy for taking effective actions toward positive change.

Today, global challenges such as climate change, migration, and conflict will require people to do more than just think about solutions. They will require effective action, by both individuals and communities. Education for global citizenship is one means to help young people develop the knowledge, skills, behaviors, attitudes, and values to engage in effective individual and collective action at their local levels, with an eye toward a long-term, better future at the global level. We offer this toolkit to provide guidance for educators, policymakers, non-governmental organizations, civil society, and researchers, and to inform this conversation.

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  • Footnotes
    1. Laertius, D. (1853). The lives and opinions of eminent philosophers (Vol. 43). London: HG Bohn.
    2. Deussen, P. (1980). Sixty Upanishads of the Veda,2 vols. Translated from German by V.M. Bedekarand G.B. Palsule (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass).
    3. For the UN definition of youth, see the followingonline document: