Finnish UNESCO school educators' understanding of global citizenship education: Analysis through typologies, ecosocial understanding, and human rights

Prospects (Paris). 2022 Apr 11;1-17. doi: 10.1007/s11125-021-09597-z. Online ahead of print.


This article sheds light on the unexplored field of UNESCO schools in Finland, and the results clarify the relationships between curricula, international commitments, and the understanding of educators in the educational field. It examines how teachers and principals of UNESCO's Associated Schools Network (ASPnet) in Finland describe their understanding of the role of global citizenship education (GCE). It draws on the typology proposed by Oxley and Morris in which forms of global education are divided into cosmopolitan types and-more critically-advocacy types and subtypes. The article also draws on concepts connected to GCE in the Finnish curricula (namely, ecosocial understanding and human rights). Findings indicate that educators perceived equality, democracy, and ecological sustainability as part of UNESCO schools and their own work. On the other hand, the need for increasing student-centered approaches was noted, racism was perceived as a difficult topic, and active deconstruction of inequalities was less referenced. When analyzing the results through typologies of global citizenship, the critical, spiritual, and economic aspects of GCE received less attention.

Keywords: Curriculum; Ecosocial understanding; Global citizenship education; Human rights; Mixed methods; UNESCO ASPnet schools.