There are two schools of thought regarding Global Citizenship Education (GCE), the soft and the critical, and both schools seek to expand the education of the student at an International School to consider their place in a globalized world (Pais & Costa 2017). The ideological basis of GCE has the noble attempt to counter the effects of Neo-liberalism on education, namely as an antidote to the commodification, marketization, and individualism that characterizes the Neo-liberalist tendency (Pais & Costa 2017).
From that point of view, it would seem that International Schools would see value in promoting GCE in their curriculum. Indeed, that is perhaps why the IBO found it necessary to include the promotion of international mindedness as a core requirement of their programs. Andreotti (2007: 41) posits that the central issue is 'whether and how to address the economic and cultural roots of the inequalities in power and wealth/labour distribution in a global complex and uncertain system'. Aside from the seemingly opposing tension between the two discourses of 'individual achievements and self-investment (neoliberalism), and another one focused on active, responsible citizenship (critical democracy)', there exists another tension in the ideas surrounding citizenry (Pais & Costa 2017: 2).
The whole concept of citizenship has its basis in belonging to a nation-state and, as such, brings up the ideas of what it means to be a citizen, which is especially difficult as the future market for International Schools is very much nested in a national context (O'Sullivan & Pashby 2008; Reysen et al. 2014)). One of the opposing views inherent in GCE could be that it is impossible to be both a citizen of an authoritarian state and a global citizen of a democratic one (Reysen & Miller 2013; Barrat Hacking et al. 2016).
By Martin Mathieson (IB Middle Years Programme Coordinator) Western International School of Shanghai
Andreotti, V. (2006) Soft versus critical global citizenship education | Development Education Review.
Barrat Hacking, E. et al. (2016) The international-mindedness journey: School practices for developing international-mindedness (2017)
Reysen, S. and Katzarska-Miller, I. (2013) 'A model of global citizenship: antecedents and outcomes, International Journal of Psychology: Journal International De Psychologie, 48(5), pp. 858–870
Reysen, S. et al. (2014) ‘Blurring Group Boundaries: The Impact of Subgroup Threats on Global Citizenship’
Pais, A. and Costa, M. (2020) 'An ideology critique of global citizenship education, Critical Studies in Education.
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