9.4 Raising awareness about global issues
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According to the Curriculum for upper secondary school, education should provide students with insights so that they can develop a personal approach to overarching, global environmental issues. Education should illuminate how the functions of society and ways of living and working can best be adapted to create sustainable development.
Science studies, one of the mandatory foundation subjects for all upper secondary programmes, contributes to an understanding of sustainable development. Teaching in the course should cover the following core content:
- Issues concerning sustainable development, such as energy, climate and impact on the ecosystem. Ecosystem services, utilisation of resources and the viability of ecosystems.
- Different aspects of sustainable development such as consumption, allocation of resources, human rights and gender equality.
Young people Ltd (Ungdomar AB) creates and operates cross-border cooperation between business and society. The aim is to create opportunities for young as community stakeholders to help shape their own future. Young people Ltd. operates in three different areas:
- research on young people's health
- events for advocacy
- training for companies, organisations and community stakeholders.
Long-term sustainability is the most central issue for the business. Young people Ltd operates the digital meeting place ungdomar.se, which is one of the largest discussion forum for young people in Sweden with approximately 100 000 visitors each week.
Teachers, school leaders and other staff in school can take part of Global School training activities (den globala skolan), offered by the Swedish Council for Higher Education (UHR). The training focuses on global sustainable development and intercultural understanding.
The purpose of the Global School is to contribute to school development through insight into global issues and application of success factors for school work. The end goal is to support promotion of global issues among students by giving them the prerequisites for making informed choices and thereby pursuing a sustainable world.
We_change is Sweden's largest education initiative for sustainable development, based on the 17 global goals for sustainable development. The campaign we_change is arranged on an annual basis by Young people Ltd together with partners (IKEA, WWF, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), government offices, etc.) in order to educate and inform upper secondary school students on global sustainable development. More information on we_change is provided in the section 'Youth-targeted information campaigns on global issues' below.
The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sida, is a major partner to we_change. The project is run by Young people Ltd (Ungdomar AB), with the vision that all young people, through their potential, will feel that they can change the world for the better.
Every year, we_change visits Swedish upper secondary schools with the aim of increasing young people's commitment and demonstrating their potential to influence the world in a sustainable direction. We_change aims at contributing to changing attitudes, raising knowledge levels and creating opportunities for young people, companies, organisations, schools and government to together change the world for better.
In Sweden, there are not specific public authorities that are responsible for disseminating information on global issues among young people. Instead, each actor who is active in the field should find appropriate ways of reaching the young audience.
In order to strengthen the global work for the 2030 Agenda, the Swedish Foreign Ministry has in 2016 taken the initiative to #FirstGeneration, a campaign to create commitment around the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development. The key to a sustainable future depends on the ability to convert knowledge into engagement among young people. The aim of the campaign is to strengthen the international work of 2030 Agenda and to let younger audiences take on the challenges linked to the UN's Global Goals for Sustainable Development.
#FirstGeneration operates in collaboration between the Swedish Foreign Ministry, Swedish embassies and consulates abroad, together with local and international stakeholders. Two major events took place in 2016:
- In June, the ministers for International development cooperation and climate and for Education participated in a seminar in New York. The focus was on young people's involvement and the important role of teachers and trainers in inspiring young. Other participants included UNESCO, UNDP and AIESEC, the world's largest student organisation.
- In October 2016, more than 300 young people, teachers, inspirers and representatives of civil society and the business sector gathered for the #FirstGeneration Global Goals Forum in Stockholm.
The campaign aims at creating engagement, strengthening communication and broadening the popular support for the 2030 Agenda and the global goals. By collaborating with a diversity of actors, Sweden wants to help influence the work of other countries in a positive direction.