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EACEA National Policies Platform: Youthwiki


9. Youth and the World

9.1 General context

On this page
  1. Main concepts
  2. Youth interest in global issues

Main concepts

The world of today is as connected as never before. At the same time, our society is also fragmented into different movements with their own agendas and worldviews. On one hand, there is number of negative trends brought on by structural injustices, like poverty, climate change, extremism, polarization and alienation. On the other hand, there are rising movements countering these issues, where the youth plays an important and in some of these movements even key role in shaping their agenda and political demands and messaging. The key global movements shaped by youth today are Climate Justice Movement and Fridays for Future, Extinction rebellion and the Black Lives Matter Movement.

We can aslo approach today’s position of youth in the global context through more formalized agendas and frameworks such youth work and education. Here, the concept of Global Citizenship Education has become key, emerging as an umbrella term for different types of transformative and value-based educations and approaches to youth work.

Global Citizenship Education (definition according to UNESCO)

Global Citizenship Education (GCED) aims to empower learners of all ages to assume active roles, both locally and globally, in building more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive and secure societies. GCED is based on the three domains of learning - cognitive, socio-emotional and behavioural.

  • Cognitive: knowledge and thinking skills necessary to better understand the world and its complexities.
  • Socio-emotional: values, attitudes and social skills that enable learners to develop affectively, psychosocially, and physically and to enable them to live together with others respectfully and peacefully.
  • Behavioural: conduct, performance, practical application and engagement.

The key learning outcomes, key learner attributes, topics and learning objectives suggested in GCED are based on the three domains of learning mentioned above. They are interlinked and integrated into the learning process.

Beyond the above definition, Global Citizenship Education has become the umbrella term for many different types of value based educations. The goal of this conceptual merger is to raise the relevance as well as impact of these fundamentally transformative types of education approaches, in relation to achieving the SDGs, especially SDG Target 4.7.

At national level there are several legislative documents which to some extent regulate and set up framework for Slovak involvement in global issues, including the involvement of youth. The legislative documents in question are the following:

  1. Foreign Affairs Strategy of the Slovak Republic
  2. Medium-Term Strategy of the Slovak Republic for Official Development Assistance 2019 - 2023
  3. National Strategy for Sustainable Development Goals of Agenda 2030

  1. Foreign Affairs Strategy of the Slovak Republic
  • Is an annual strategic document for Slovak involvement and active participation in the international arena, also in relation to multitude of institutional agendas related to global issues. Foreign Affairs Strategy also reiterates and shapes Slovak positioning towards key partners in the multilateral area of foreign affairs, such as the European Union and its member states, United Nations, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, North Atlantic Alliance, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development or Council of Europe.

  1. Medium-Term Strategy of the Slovak Republic for Official Development Assistance 2019- 2023
  • adopted as a 5-year strategy by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic
  • the main instrument of development cooperation planning and implementation in Slovakia as well as Slovak interaction and involvement with international organizations including United Nations, OECD DAC
  • defines the vision, objectives, principles, territorial and sectorial priorities,
  • is implemented through annual bilateral development cooperation action plans,
  • 10 priority countries: 3 program countries (Kenya, Moldova, Georgia), 5 partner regions and countries (West Balkans, Eastern Partnership, Eastern Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East, Afghanistan)
  • One of the key areas through which the Mid-term strategy regulates youth engagement in global issues is the chapter on Development Education and Awareness Raising, which is the building block for the one and only dedicated funding stream support for global and development education in the country.

  1. TheNational Implementation Plan for Agenda 2030 (2017)
  • Agenda 2030 is one of the most complex policy documents aiming for sustainable development globally and is more or less a direct follow up of the previous agenda of this kind, The Millenium Development Goals.
  • In Slovakia, the Agenda 2030 and progress towards reaching its universally applicable 17 Sustainable Development Goals is coordinated by the Ministry of Investment, Regional Development and Informatization of the Slovak Republic.
  • In the Slovak context, Agenda 2030 has been viewed as an opportunity to frame the vision for future development and transformation of the country. The 17 original Sustainable Development Goals have been in the consultation process roofed by the government broken down into 6 national priority areas:
    • Education for dignified life,
    • Knowledge-based and environmentally sustainable economy reacting to demographic trends in the changing global environment,
    • Poverty reduction and social inclusion
    • Sustainable cities, regions and country in the context of climate change
    • Good governance, democracy and security,
    • Good health.

Since Slovakia is a member state of the European Union, one of the most important angles from which to approach the involvement of youth in the global environment, is through policies and programmes of the European institutions. Here, the key policy frameworks and programmes are:

  • European Education Area
  • European Green Deal
  • European Union’s Rights and Values Programme
  • Erasmus+ programme
  • Development Education and Awareness Raising Programme
  • Conference on the Future of Europe
  • Horizon 2020 Programme
  • Europe for Citizens Programme
  • Creative Europe Programme

Another important EU wide process framing the future of youth involvement in global issues has been the Envision 4.7 Roadmap, co-created by transformative education and youth work experts across sectors, ranging from government officials, members of the European Parliament, CSO representatives, academics as well as representatives of international institutions like the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe.

Youth interest in global issues

There is a plethora of resources mapping out the involvement, skills, and competences of youth in relation to global issues. Below are the most recent and most relevant:

OECD PISA Global Competences Measurements (2018 - 2020)

  • Slovak students are relatively well acquainted with topics of global significance, such as climate change, migration, hunger and malnutrition or the causes of poverty. About a fifth of 15-year-old pupils stated in the questionnaire that they know these topics and can explain them.
  • 42.2% of Slovak pupils were included in the risk group. These are students who have not even reached the basic level of knowledge in the field of global competences.
  • The highest percentage of students who fall into the risk group, represent students attending secondary vocational schools. This is up to 84.9% of students in this type of school.
  • On the other hand, 3.6% of pupils in Slovakia were included in the top group. These are the students who have reached the highest level in the area of ​​global competencies.
  • The difference between the average performance of Slovak girls and boys in global competencies goes in favor of girls, and difference can be described as significant.
  • In Slovakia, students from better socioeconomic background, achieved 95.2 points higher scores in the global competences tests compared to students from worse socioeconomic background.

Flash Eurobarometer No. 478 (2019)

  • Young people consider that protecting the environment and fighting climate change, along with education and training; and fighting poverty and social inequalities should be the top priorities for the EU in the years to come.
  • Regarding the EU’s actions in education and training, young people see efforts to connect schools or universities with others abroad as most useful, together with supporting youth projects and mobilities.
  • Young Europeans are actively engaged. Three quarters have been involved in some form of organised movement. More than seven in ten young respondents have voted in local, national, or European elections while one third have been involved in organised voluntary activities in the last 12 months.
  • Young people expect schools to prepare them for employment and to think critically. They consider the main shortcomings of schools currently to be not dedicating enough attention to entrepreneurship and financial competences; and climate change, environment, and eco-friendly behaviours.