Global Education | Cyprus

GE Definition
Since the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus, Global Education has been dynamic as an educational concept. Global Education has evolved parallel to the island’s political and socioeconomic development, and reflecting different movements nationally, in the region and internationally.

In the Strategic Plan for 2018-2020, Ministry of Education and Culture (MoEC) describes its work as implementing an educational policy that embodies the values of equality, inclusiveness, creativity and innovation, and aiming at life-long, balanced development whilst at the same time strengthening culture and cultural creativity. The vision is to form literate citizens with skills, responsibility, democratic ethos, historical identity as well as respect for diversity. The plan lists the following core values of education in general:

  • integrity and respect in interpersonal relations
  • teamwork and collaborative spirit for common goals
  • effectiveness and efficiency in order to satisfy the differentiated needs of learners
  • accountability, transparency and evidence-based decision making
  • active citizenship and participation in society, taking into account historical and cultural identity
  • effective communication and unhindered flow of information, so as to facilitate communication both horizontally and vertically
  • service to society by creating positive experiences for pupils and their families, the labour market and the community

Global Education issues and values are represented in the Cyprus formal education system, within the various subjects across educational levels. Themes mentioned are:

  • Peace education
  • Citizenship, Global Citizenship Education and Gender Equality Education
  • Education for Sustainable Development
  • Anti-Racism Education and the Anti-Racism Code
  • Intercultural Education
  • Human Rights Education

There are very few non-governmental organisations focused on development and Global Education in Cyprus; those who are display commitment, co-operation and a deep willingness to coordinate efforts for greater effect. They are joined on the GE scene by a well-organised youth sector working to promote youth participation and voice. 

Many NGOs collaborate with the Ministry of Education and Culture in a variety of ways, particularly for the purpose of planning and undertaking training and educational activities in schools and to offer seminars and training for teachers. A number of Global Education focused NGOs are also represented on the Interdepartmental Committee on Global Education, including Future Worlds Center (FWC)

FWC’s most recent efforts focus on exploring global interconnections through the global food system. The EU-funded project Map Your Meal (www.mapyourmeal.org) has developed a set of learning materials for the formal and non-formal education sectors, as well as an innovative mobile application, where users can learn about a range of GE topics that are connected to their own food products simply by scanning their barcode.

Global Education NGOs in Cyprus besides other activites, offer training, educational activities and projects to various audiences and target groups, including schools, youth, trade unions and teachers across Cyprus. Many also produce materials that become free and open source for students and educators to be used as a tool for interactive learning, learning by doing, learning through experiences.

Definition adopted by the Ministry of Education and Culture
Global Education is the Education that opens people’s eyes and minds to the realities of the globalised world and awakens them to bring about a world of greater justice, equity and human rights for all.

Global Education is understood to encompass Development Education, Human Rights Education, Education for Sustainability, Education for Peace and Conflict Prevention and Intercultural Education; being the global dimension of Education for Citizenship.
*That’s the definition of Global Education by North South Centre of the council of Europe

 Definition Adopted by Non – Governmental Development Cooperation Organizations

‘…an active learning process, founded on values of solidarity, equality, inclusion, and cooperation.

It enables people to move from basic awareness of international development priorities and sustainable human development, through the understanding of the causes and effects of global issues to personal involvement and informed actions. Development education fosters the full participation of all citizens in the world – wide poverty eradication, and the fight against exclusion. It seeks to influence more just and sustainable economic, social, environmental, human rights based national and international policies.’

*That’s the definition of Development Education by CONCORD, the European NGO confederation on development and relief

 Spring 2016
“… Education for Sustainable Development receives 0,13% of the annual budget assigned to the Ministry of Education and Culture by the Ministry of Finance. This percentage covers the application of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in schools as well as the related teacher training and the remuneration of the teachers working for the Environmental Education Centres.

October 2017
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs invited all relevant stakeholders involved in the promotion and realisation of the SDGs for a meeting in October, in order to draw up a plan of action.
Each Ministry will take on responsibility for one Goal. Goal 4 will be the responsibility of the  Ministry of Education and Culture. For the realisation of Goal 4 great emphasis will be given to target 4.7, related to the promotion of sustainable development. The Ministry’s planning will focus on that.

GE in Youth Sector
Youth-led and youth-serving organizations in Cyprus are plentiful and organized under the umbrella of the national youth council – Cyprus Youth Council (CYC).

CYC is an umbrella organization that seeks to act as a platform for exchange and communication between all youth NGOs in Cyprus. The primary aim of CYC is to promote youth empowerment and active youth participation in political life and in decision making processes, through initiatives such as “Structured Dialogue” that enables young people and youth organizations to engage with decision makers at the European level directly.

Much of the coordinated and well organized effort of the Youth Council has Global Education components. For example, in the field of Human Rights Education, CYC is a partner in the RESTART.eu project that raises awareness regarding the refugee crisis caused by conflict in Europe’s neighboring regions. CYC also promotes reconciliation and peace education efforts within Cyprus through partnerships with various NGOs.

For example, during the annual European Sport Week, CYC and Peaceplayers Cyprus organize a basketball game that brings together the various minority groups living in Cyprus, as well as Turkish and Greek Cypriot youth to build bridges and create trust. The game takes place in the buffer zone separating the north and the south of the island.

There is potential for further youth participation across Global Education initiatives and across government in Cyprus, for example by offering direct representation on key committees and projects run by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Several NGOs in Cyprus are working on different aspects of Global Education. Mostly, their work focuses on non – formal education methods but they intervene and fill the gap in formal curriculum through partnerships with schools and educational authorities. Due to the lack of national funding their activities are rely almost entirely on project funding. In the past (10 years ago) there was very little trust from the government in Civil Society and the capacity of CSOs to manage funds; this trust has now been established. NGOs have a medium level of participation in policy agenda setting and formulation, primarily through their inclusion in the Interdepartmental Committee for GE. NGOs suggestions/opinions will necessarily shape actual policies. Their only participation in policy evaluation to have been through the GENE “Global Education Peer Review” (2017).

Significant Stakeholders

1) NGO Support Centre is working on fields of active citizenship, peace and reconciliation, youth and education, and development education.
2) CARDET is implementing projects about Migration, Integration, and Social Justice, Civil Society & Development Education, Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development
3) Future World Centre , is working on equipping youth and educators with knowledge, skills and tools to increase awareness about global issues and to encourage action for a more just and sustainable world.

GE Best Practices
As mentioned above, Global Education is a milestone each country should strive for. It lays the groundwork for teaching and learning with a global perspective, as well as infusing global issues, such as sustainable development, human rights, peace, and environmental considerations into traditional education settings. The following best practices coming from Cyprus highlight all the effort put into working towards and building a more sustainable world.

Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture: The Institutional Basis of Global Education
The Ministry of Education and Culture (MoEC) is the main co-ordinating body for Global Education, with strong participation from the Departments for primary and secondary education, as well as from the Pedagogical Institute.
The Environmental Education Unit of the Pedagogical Institute leads Cyprus’ work on ESD. The MoEC is responsible for all aspects of planning and implementation across the formal education system. Although, there is no formal Global Education dimension in the system, the Ministry coordinates in Cyprus since 2007 the Global Education Week (GEW).
As a member of North South Centre of European Council, Cyprus, and by extension the Ministry of Education and Culture, gives an opportunity to teachers and students alike to implement a global education project within schools and become engaged in reflecting on their very role as active citizens of a globalized world. The Global Education Week in Cyprus unofficially started in 2004 with only two pilot schools, while since 2007, it  is open to all schools (from Nursery to Secondary Schools).
As part of the initiatives the Ministry has fostered for the dissemination of Global Education is the Interdepartmental Committee on Global Education.
The Ministry of Education and Culture co-ordinates the Interdepartmental Committee on Global Education, which brings together representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and NGOs, in addition to the Ministry of Education and Culture and its relevant agencies.
The Committee members collaborate on different Global Education initiatives and work together to attract funding from the international level. The Ministry is also responsible of informing other bodies regarding Global Education Good Practices through Global Education Newsletter and Global Education Guidelines.

Education for Peace and Conflict Prevention
One of the main elements of Global Education naming conflict resolution and peace education is of central importance for the case of Cyprus due to the island’s ongoing division. There are different examples of best practices through which a multi-perspective approach is introduced for children and youth to understand who the “other” is, as well as how interconnected we are. A peace education programme is offered to students and teachers at secondary level, called the School Mediation Programme.  The programme trains teachers and students to become school mediators through components such as conflict resolution, remedial and restorative justice, and tolerance education. Also, the project Imagine, run by the bi-communal non-governmental organization Association for Historical Dialogue and Research, brings together students from primary and secondary schools from both sides, during school hours, to participate in peace education activities. Lastly, the English School encapsulates what an education for peace and conflict prevention is as it is a public-private school, in which, after the decision of Ministry of Interior, Turkish-Cypriots students could be re-admitted since 2003 when restrictions on crossing the dividing line were lifted. The school has had to train staff members on peace education practices and has tried to foster a culture of peace despite many challenges.

Bibliography 

  • Global Education in Cyprus (2017) The European Global Education Peer Review Process National Report on Global Education in Cyprus (GENE- Global Education Network Europe).
  • The English School’s History in: https://www.englishschool.ac.cy/schools-history (accessed July 30, 2018).
  • North-South Centre of the Council of Europe (2012) Global Education Guidelines: Concepts and Methodologies on Global Education for Educators and Policy Makers, in: https://rm.coe.int/168070eb85 (accessed July 15, 2018).