9.4 Raising awareness about global issues
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Awareness raising about global issues in general upper secondary educations programmes (Stx, Hhx, Htx and Hf)
The purpose clause of The Act on General Upper Secondary Education states that students should acquire an understanding of global perspectives. All subjects must include aspects of cultural and global understanding.
- Geological processes and human use of resources
- The importance of climate on human production and life conditions
- Climate change and society’s influence on climate
- Innovation, sustainable living, and use of resources
- Sustainable living under various social and nature conditions
- Energy resources of the earth
- UN development goals
- Rights in a democratic society
- Gender equality
- Decision-making processes in a global perspective
- World religions
- International cooperation, conflict, and power dynamics
Global issues are an integrated part of other subjects such as history, nature geography, biology, religion, and social science. In STX, history, nature geography, biology, religion, social science, and a basic course in science are mandatory. In HTX, biology, social science, and a basic course in science are mandatory. In HHX, social science and history are mandatory. The basic course in science is mandatory in the first three months of STX and HTX. The basic programme introduces the students to the subjects in science. The point of departure of the basic course is current issues with relevance to the field of science. Issues such as climate change may be relevant.
Awareness raising abut global issues in non-formal learning
Denmark does not have any national/top-level non-formal programmes promoting young people’s knowledge and understanding of global issues.
However, several non-governmental organisations provide non-formal learning on the subject or implement activities related to global issues:
The Danish Institute for Human Rights has developed six online modules on human rights. The modules consist of text, exercises, and quizzes. Furthermore, the institute arranges civil society courses (civilsamfundskurser) aimed at organisations and NGOs for whom human rights are relevant in their work. The following are examples of courses as of March 2021:
- Religion and human rights in a national and international perspective
- Equal treatment and non-discrimination – it concerns us all
- Children’s rights
All participants receive a questionnaire before and after a course. By comparing the two questionnaires, the institute evaluates the learning objectives of the courses.
The Danish Institute for Human Rights is publicly funded.
The Danish folk high schools (højskole), university extensions, evening schools, and continuation schools all receive public funding and may offer non-formal and informal learning activities within the field of global issues. Climate change, sustainable living, and projects/cooperation with developing countries are among the topics taught. The organisations and institutions arrange the content, teaching methods, and target group themselves.
Furthermore, several organisations receive public funding for non-formal learning activities within the area of global issues, especially sustainable living, consumption, and green living.
The Danish Youth Council (DUF) runs a programme aimed at strengthening the dialogue and intercultural understanding between young people from Denmark and the partner countries Egypt, Tunisia, and Jordan. The programme is funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Danish–Arab Partnership Programme (DAPP). Participants from the four partner countries participate in a seminar where they are trained in dialogue tools, facilitation skills, and conducting dialogue activities. Since 2009, more than 25,000 young persons have become trained dialogue ambassadors.
Quality assurance mechanisms are established in Denmark and in the partner countries.
In partner countries, quality assurance consists of several elements:
A monitoring check where all local partners are visited and the progress and potential challenges are assessed.
A financial check: DUF monitors whether the allocated funds are used as agreed.
Furthermore, all partners meet at least twice a year and share experiences in order to improve the quality of the activities. At the local level, each partner country has individual evaluation measures following each dialogue workshop. A common topic in all local evaluations is the evaluation of the education of new dialogue ambassadors and an evaluation of the ambassadors’ training of young people.
Oxfam Ibis runs a Development Goal Ambassador learning programme. Here, young people learn about the UN development goals and how to communicate complex and global issues. The newly qualified development goal ambassadors make presentations at public primary and lower secondary schools (folkeskole) and folk high schools (højskoler). Furthermore, young people may engage as volunteers in the association. There is no information about quality assurance mechanisms.
The green think tank Concito teaches a Junior Climate Ambassador training programme in cooperation with the municipality of Copenhagen. The training programme equips young persons in lower secondary education for developing a more sustainable society. The training programme consists of four aspects:
- Knowledge about the climate, environment, and sustainable development
- Competency development that equips young people to become agents of change
- Action – execution of projects/campaigns and strategies
- Evaluation with a focus on further development
The development of the training programme was funded by the Ministry of Environment’s ‘Pool for Green enthusiasts’.
Furthermore, Concito trains young climate ambassadors who give presentations and hosts workshops about climate and sustainable living at primary, lower secondary, and upper secondary schools. There is no information on quality assurance mechanisms.
MS ActionAid is a non-governmental organisation that works to combat poverty, hunger, and discrimination in the world. The organisation offers opportunities for voluntary work in Denmark, for instance in the programme World Class. In the programme, young people visit schools and give presentations on global issues. There is no information on quality assurance mechanisms.
The Danish Family Planning Association (Sex og Samfund) is a non-governmental organisation in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights. The Danish Family Planning Association works to promote the universal right to decide over one’s own body and sexuality, to increase access to contraceptives and sexuality education, and also fights against maternal mortality and discrimination against LGBT people. The organisation produces teaching material and offers educational courses aimed at primary, lower secondary, and upper secondary. Furthermore, young people may engage as volunteers in the association. There is no information on quality assurance mechanisms.
Operation Day’s Work (Operation Dagsværk) is a global humanitarian organisation run by students that aims to support developing countries. The organisation offers opportunities for voluntary work in Denmark. There is no information on quality assurance mechanisms.
Denmark does not have a main programme within informal learning aiming to help young people learn about global issues. Informal learning about global issues are taught in youth organisations, in interest organisations such as the environmental movement, in organisations involved in development assistance, human rights, etc. These organisations may be entitled to public support, for instance financial support to specific projects, but they are non-public, independent organisations.
Training of educators on the subject of global issues in Denmark
In Denmark, there is no continuous training and certification offered to teachers, trainers, non-formal education workers, or young workers related to the promotion of global issues among young people. However, various teaching material and networking opportunities are available for teachers.
The digital platform EMU provides teaching material for teachers at all levels of formal education. The platform offers inspiration and specific teaching modules. As of August 2019, material is provided on topics such as climate change, sustainable living, UN Development Goals, and human rights. The platform is under the auspices of the Ministry of Children and Education.
Several organisations and independent state institutions produce teaching material for courses in formal education.
Examples of teaching material:
World Lesson. The World’s Best News runs a learning portal, the World Lession.The project aims to promote knowledge and understanding of global issues and the UN Development Goals to children and young people in Denmark. World Lesson takes place one week in September, but schools and education institutions can choose to participate for one day or to use the teaching material during the year. The World Lesson produces free teaching material for primary, lower secondary, and upper secondary educations. Furthermore, World’s Best News runs a school site where students can get inspiration and information regarding the UN Development Goals.
Oxfam Ibis runs a school service aimed at primary and lower secondary education. The materials consist of:
- Free presentations by the Oxfam development goal ambassadors
- A roleplay – a platform with information about development goals
- The project Reading Rocket, which is a book that focuses on children’s conditions around the world and online exercises
- The project Agent Footprint, which is teaching material concerning climate, the environment, and development that can be used in science subjects, mathematics, social science subjects, geography, and biology.
Operation Day’s Work (Operation Dagsværk) produces teaching material for upper secondary education. The teaching is updated every year and matches the current year’s topic. The teaching material in 2019 focused on people with disabilities with special attention to Uganda. The teaching material can be used in English, sports, and social science. Furthermore, young volunteers make presentations for students in upper secondary educations.
The Danish Institute for Human Rights (Institut for menneskerettigheder) manages a learning portal with free teaching material aimed at primary, lower secondary, and upper secondary as well as university colleges that educate pedagogues and teachers. The material consists of specific courses on, for instance, freedom of speech and racism, democracy, and political ideologies. Furthermore, the institute provides small online videos and games with the purpose of informing students or helping them to reflect on their own position. The material can be used in formal education, but also in organisations and NGOs for whom human rights are a vital part of their work.
Astra is the national centre for learning in science, technology, and health in Denmark. Astra develops, records, and shares new knowledge, which enables Danish science teachers to both ignite and maintain students’ interest in science. Some of the focus areas are engineering and developmental goals for sustainable development. Teachers at all levels are supported and have easy access to new inspiration.
Furthermore, Astra has established networks for science teachers at different education levels.
Danida, the Danish international development programme, manages a website with teaching material. The website provides material for primary, lower secondary, and upper secondary education programmes. The website contains films, pictures, interactive websites, and digital teaching material that can be used in courses with a focus on developing countries. Furthermore, Danida has developed free Audio-Visual material aimed at upper secondary students that teachers can use.
Ubu-portal: The Ubu portal is a digital platform with teaching material related to sustainable development. The portal is developed by the Danish Unesco National Committee in cooperation with the Ministry of Children and Education. At the platform, teachers may find inspiration in the form of articles, references, literature reviews etc.
Concito is a non-governmental green think tank. The purpose of Concito is to provide science- and knowledge-based analyses and information on the most effective and cost-efficient transition towards a climate-safe society in Denmark and other parts of the world. Concito manages a platform, the Climate Embassy, aimed at children and young people. Concito trains young climate ambassadors, who give presentations and host workshops about climate and sustainable living at primary, lower secondary, and upper secondary schools. Concito has developed teaching material with workshops and guided tours. Furthermore, Concito has entered into a partnership with 15 municipalities where Concito is responsible for developing a green curriculum that supports teachers and municipalities in promoting STEM subjects. The curriculum is supported by digital material/teaching material.
Danish Family Planning Association (Sex og Samfund): Sex Week (Uge sex) is an educational initiative that focuses on sexual health in primary and lower secondary education as well as upper secondary educations. The programme consists of teaching material and a teaching website. Furthermore, the association offers:
- A training course for teachers in VET programmes. The course equips teachers with the competences need to teach about sexuality, sexual health, gender, body, and identity.
- A visit by the young-to-younger corps. The corps consists of young people trained to teach sex education in education institutions.
Green Flag: Green Flag is an environment education programme in order to promote sustainable development developed by the Outdoor Council. Schools can sign up for a green flag, which implies that the school establishes an environment council at the school. The council must establish a vision and an action plan for the green work in the school. Furthermore, every school with a green flag must report on their activities and an audit where the school’s environmental impact is assessed. Examples of green flag themes: energy, climate changes, sustainable consumption, transportation, waste, chemicals, organics production, water, nature, sustainable development of cities, and outdoor activities.
The Green Flag programme covers primary and secondary educations, continuation schools, upper secondary educations, and the teacher training programme.
On the Green Flag website, inspiration for teachers is available.
In Denmark, more than 350 education institutions have participated in the programme.
World Class. On the website World Class (Verdensklasse), the organisations MS ActionAid provides teaching material on UN sustainable development goals and offers workshops, presentations and guided city tours.
Unesco sustainable development goals school: Unesco sustainable development goals school is part of the global network UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network. All schools are obliged to work with global citizenship and sustainable development. The teaching involves topics such as intercultural competences, human rights, climate, and environment. As of 2019, 34 Danish schools participate in the network:
- 15 primary and secondary education institutions (Folkeskole)
- 1 continuation school
- 16 general upper secondary education institutions
- 1 vocational upper secondary education institution
- 1 university college.
Operation Day’s Work (ODW) (Operation Dagsværk): ODW is an international student movement. Each year, the Danish student organisation runs a campaign focusing on international aid and societal issues. The ODW information campaign takes place in upper secondary education institutions.
ODW consists of two interconnected components: An information campaign and the ODW day. Every year, young volunteers in ODW produce teaching materials for the upper secondary education institutions and presents the challenges and issues from the year’s project land.
World’s Best News (Verdens bedste nyheder) is an independent media platform for constructive journalism and creative campaigns. World’s Best News publishes news about progress and solutions to the world’s challenges – primarily focusing on developing countries.
World’s Best News uses a number of different channels and methods to inform children, young people, and adults. World’s Best News hosts events, discusses journalism and development in mainstream media, gives presentations, and reaches out to schools with the project World Lesson.
- World Lesson (Verdenstimen): World’s Best News runs the project World Lesson. The project aims to promote knowledge and understanding of global issues and the UN Development Goals to children and young people in Denmark. World Lesson takes place one week in September, but schools and education institutions can choose to participate for one day or to use the teaching materials during the year. The World Lesson produces free teaching material for primary, lower secondary, and upper secondary educations.
- World’s Best Morning (Verdens bedste morgen): Since 2010, the Danish independent media platform World’s Best News has distributed free newspapers with information about the progress made in developing countries. The World’s Best Morning takes place once a year, one morning in September.
The Danish Environmental Protection Agency (Miljøstyrelsen) runs the My Environment website, with information about the environment and nature. Via articles, videos, competitions, and quizzes, the website offers short and action-oriented advice regarding the environment and nature. The objective is to make it easier for Danes to avoid chemicals, live healthy, avoid food waste, etc. On the website, two special sections are aimed at teenagers:
- Teenager and how to avoid perfume allergy,
- Environment teenage guide: A teenage guide to reducing one’s environmental impact. The guide contains short articles, a quiz, links to further reading, and links to YouTube videos from the Danish Environmental Protection Agency.
Dialogue meetings: The Danish Youth Council hosts a range of dialogue meetings for young people. At the meetings, the UN delegates discuss the progress made within three areas: democracy and partnerships, climate and environment, and equality and SRSR. UN development goals and human rights are a recurring theme at the meetings. For more information about the UN delegate programme, see section 9.3.