Pogledaj Full Version : Global and the Local in Partnership: Innovative Approaches to Citizenship Education

Željko Zidarić
27th-May-2012, 10:44 PM
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Professor David Grossman
Centre for Citizenship Education, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong

“We are living through a transformation that will rearrange the politics and
economics of the coming century. There will be no national products or
technologies, no national corporations, no national industries. There will no
longer be national economies, at least as we have come to understand the
concept. All that will remain within national borders are the people who
comprise a nation. Each nation’s primary assets will be its citizens’ skills and
insights. Each nation’s primary political task will be to cope with the
centrifugal forces of the global economy which tear at the ties binding citizens
together — bestowing ever greater wealth on the most skilled and insightful,
while consigning the less skilled to a declining standard of living” (Reich, 1992).

As this provocative quote aptly indicates, the planet and the human family are facing an unprecedented set of challenges, issues and problems in the new century. A recent multinational study (Cogan and Derricott, 1998) identified seven increasingly significant challenges to life on the planet needing immediate attention:

The economic gap among countries and between people within countries will widen significantly.
Information technologies will dramatically reduce the privacy of individuals.
The inequalities between those who have access to information technologies and those who do not will increase dramatically.
Conflict of interest between developing and developed nations will increase due to environmental deterioration.
The cost of obtaining adequate water will rise dramatically due to population growth and environmental deterioration.
Deforestation will dramatically affect diversity of life, air, soil, and water quality.
In developing countries population growth will result in a dramatic increase in the percentage of people, especially children, living in poverty.

Even though these challenges in no way constitute a particularly rosy view of the future, some critics of globalization go further, questioning both the inherent nature of globalization and its impact. Summarizing some of these critical views, Baylis and Smith (1997) remind us that globalization is often equated with a stage of capitalism or Western imperialism and as such carries a lot of baggage with it:

Globalization is uneven in its effects, producing both winners and losers, the latter especially amongst the poor.
Globalization obscures accountability in that it is difficult to trace and specify responsibility
Globalization gives rise to paradox and even processes of counter-globalization, e.g., more global homogeneity engenders fierce reactions that strengthen local identities, be they religious, ethnic or national (Baylis and Smith, 1997).

Still, if the global trends we have described are the kinds of global realities that will shape the world of the early 21st century, then what kinds of citizens are needed to function in this world? What kinds of knowledge, skills, and behaviours will they need to exhibit? What kinds of education and schooling will be needed to develop these citizens? How does one respond to these global challenges, both as a member of a particular nation-state as well as a member of the community of nations in a manner that is thoughtful, active, personal and yet with a commitment
to the common good?

Reconceptualizing Citizenship Education

Here we would argue that no less than a new conceptualization of ‘citizen’ is required to face these challenges. Conventional ‘content-based only’ approaches will be increasingly rendered obsolete. To function successfully, modern political systems depend upon an underlying conception of citizenship. This can be explicitly spelled out in a constitution, a bill of rights or some similar document, or it can be left implicit within national traditions and institutions.
Moreover, any conception of citizenship implies a set of knowledge, skills, values and dispositions that citizens should possess.

Normally these attributes of citizenship sought in a particular context will vary according to the nature of the political system of which they are a part. However, they can generally be classified into five categories:

a sense of identity
the enjoyment of certain rights
the fulfilment of corresponding obligations
a degree of interest and involvement in public affairs
an acceptance of basic societal values (Cogan and Derricott, 1998).

All five categories are conveyed through a wide variety of institutions, both governmental and non-governmental, the media and especially schooling.

To get a sense of how relevant these five attributes of citizenship would be for those living in the next century, the “Citizenship Education Policy Study” (CEPS) was undertaken, utilizing a consortium of universities that shared exchange agreements. Four national and/or regional teams totalling 26 researchers from nine nations, all specialists in citizenship education and/or research methodology, carried it out. As one of the researchers in this study, I will introduce only the key recommendation of the study, namely the proposal that ‘Multidimensional Citizenship’ become
the central priority of citizenship education policy.

Conventional citizenship education frameworks have focused upon one or two of these attributes of citizenship to the exclusion of the others. What is needed is a conceptualization of citizenship that takes into account all of these dimensions in a single model. The CEPS study calls for a Multidimensional Citizenship model requiring citizens to address a series of interconnected dimensions of thought, belief and action. We refer to these dimensions as personal, social, spatial and temporal, and we briefly summarize them here.

PERSONAL : A personal capacity for and commitment to a civic ethic characterized by responsible habits of mind, heart, and action
SOCIAL : Capacity to live and work together for civic purposes
SPATIAL : Capacity to see oneself as a member of several overlapping communities − local, regional, national, and multinational
TEMPORAL : Capacity to locate present challenges in the context of both past and future in order to focus on long-term solutions to the difficult challenges we face

The four dimensions of citizenship - the personal, social, spatial, and temporal - are all closely interwoven. They also indicate that a citizen’s sense of identity must be located at a variety of levels, ranging from the local through national to the multinational. This concept of multiple, interlocking identities clearly pervades all four dimensions of citizenship. An effective citizenship education policy must address them more or less simultaneously.

Innovative Approaches to Citizenship Education

Here we suggest that a fundamentally different approach to citizenship education, one centered in the vision of the Multidimensional Citizenship model is necessary. This conception, while depending heavily upon formal educational approaches cannot rely upon schooling alone. Unless the wider communities within which the schools exist from local to global are fully involved in the development of citizens’ multidimensionality, we cannot succeed. This, in turn, suggests the need for a new and innovative set of partnerships marked by collaboration and the use of shared brainpower to resolve problems that have local, national, regional, and global implications.

As part of a larger effort to create areas of excellence within Hong Kong’s tertiary institutions, I headed a working group that used Multidimensional Citizenship as the conceptual basis for the development of a Centre for Citizenship Education at the Hong Kong Institute of Education. To give depth to the conceptualization of Multidimensional Citizenship, the Centre working group linked Multidimensional Citizenship to three internationally established academic and educational traditions within the field of citizenship education: values education, civic education, and environmental education. These three approaches have significant advantages. They focus on three highly pertinent citizenship education processes:

The acquisition of dispositions and predilections that provide the foundation for civic attitudes and beliefs (values education)
The building of a knowledge base for civic beliefs and skills for civic participation (civic education)
The process of developing understanding, skills and values consistent with the notion of sustainable development (environmental education)

Bringing together the four dimensions of citizenship with three approaches to citizenship
education, in educational contexts that shape the practice of citizenship education, the centre
adopted a holistic approach that we label Multidimensional Citizenship Education (MDCE). This
concept both builds upon and extends the notion of Multidimensional Citizenship. The four
dimensions of citizenship capture the different ways in which citizenship is exercised now and
will be in the future, namely the personal, social, spatial, and temporal. The three approaches to
citizenship education (values, civic and environmental education) are established traditions of
inquiry and ways in which preparation for citizenship are manifested in existing school curricula.
Contexts refer to the educational arenas where citizenship education can be operationalized and
will be studied and transformed through the efforts of the Centre.

Three Illustrative Projects

In closing, I would like to briefly describe three projects that the centre has initiated to implement this concept of Multidimensional Citizenship Education.

Project to Enhance Civic Education in Hong Kong Primary Schools: With a grant from the Hong Kong government's Quality Education Fund (QEF), the Centre for Citizenship Education has initiated a project to enhance civic education in Hong Kong primary schools based on the Multidimensional Citizenship Education approach. This project works to increase teachers' knowledge in the Centre’s three approaches to citizenship education: namely, values, civic and environmental education. A series of seminars and workshops are offered in 10 pilot schools and 90 project-affiliated schools to introduce these three approaches. The project also assists schools in the implementation of child-centered learning and participatory approaches in citizenship education; the development of teaching and learning resources for citizenship education; and facilitating exchange and dialogue with citizenship educators in China and the Asia-Pacific region.

Green Schools Project: Again, with a grant from the Quality Education Fund, the Centre for Citizenship Education has developed project on ‘Green Schools’ to study the implementation of principles of sustainable development in school-wide programmes. In Hong Kong the project is facilitated by the experience of a secondary school that has been running a Green School since September 1998. The QEF grant has enabled the school to initiate a school-wide environmental education programme that includes an Environmental Education Resources Centre, an Environmental Monitoring Station (air, water, and noise pollution), and a greenhouse where students can practice and experience organic farming. The aim of this project is to determine the impact of this school-wide experiential approach on students’ environmental awareness, civic values, and life-style, and to disseminate the project to other schools.

The Asia-Pacific Consortium for Citizenship Education in the Schools: In February 1999, with support of the Japan Foundation Asia Center, the Centre for Citizenship Education inaugurated the Asia-Pacific Consortium for Citizenship Education in Schools (ACCES). The goal of this network is to enhance the development of citizenship education in the Asia-Pacific region by; encouraging a regional dialogue about the conceptualization, design and implementation of effective citizenship education programs; facilitating collaborative research and evaluation projects using the Multidimensional Citizenship Education model; and identifying and disseminating resources on citizenship education. For this purpose ACCES has formed working groups in the three approaches: values, civic and environmental education, thus disseminating and implementing the concept of Multidimensional Citizenship in the regional context. Finally, the ACCES Steering Committee has developed a research matrix based on Multidimensional Citizenship that it hopes will frame future research activities in the network.


The problem with our present educational systems is that they have not, by and large, adjusted to the new historical realities – for better or worse − that have resulted from processes of globalization. This is not a statement of blame; it is a statement of an accelerated historical lag created by an unprecedented magnitude of change. Certain changes must take place in the content, the methods and in the social context of education if schools are to become more effective agents of citizen education in a global age. We believe that the concept of

Citizenship is best suited to help young citizens meet the challenges of the millennium. In our view, Multidimensional Citizenship Education also represents something new and distinctive in that it builds upon and goes beyond these more traditional conceptions of citizenship and citizenship education and speaks directly to what are anticipated to be the challenges of the 21st century in both local and global contexts.

Baylis, J. and Smith, S., (1997). The globalization of world politics, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Cogan, J. and Derricott, R., (1998). Citizenship for the 21st century: An international perspective on education, Kogan Page, Ltd., London.
Cogan, J., Grossman, D. & Liu, M.H., (2000). ‘Citizenship: The democratic imagination in a global context’, Social Education. (64.1)
Reich, R.B., (1992). The work of nations, Vintage, New York.