SDG 4.7 Contents in the Curricula of 13 Countries in Asia
UNESCO Bangkok analyzed the extent to which learning contents related to concepts, values and behaviours relevant to SDG Target 4.7 were included in the eighth grade curricula of 13 countries in Asia.1 The subjects of the examined curricula included mathematics, national language, science and social studies.2 The data were sourced from a study undertaken in 2016-2017 by the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP), in which independent consultants were asked to analyze the frequency of the appearance of SDG 4.7-related words and phrases in the curricular documents of each country, using a common coding scheme.3 The coding was organized by categories of topics and key words relevant to SDG 4.7.
The data obtained from 13 countries were used for the charts presented below. Each dot represents the number of times that a category appears per 100 pages in the curricular documents of a country. The yellow bar represents the average of frequency counts for all countries in the respective category.
Concepts Related to SDG 4.7
Concepts related to 'environmental sustainability', 'human rights' and 'interconnectedness' are addressed most often in the curricula of the 13 countries. References to ‘good health and well-being’ are also made with significant frequency in three countries. On the other hand, concepts related to ‘gender equality’, ‘global issues’ and ‘global systems, structures and processes’ are hardly present in the curricula, suggesting the particular need to strengthen education for gender equality and Global Citizenship Education in the region.
Related words and phrases by category:
self-awareness: migration, global-local thinking/acting, international competition, multiculturalism, global culture/identity/relationships/citizen, culture and heritage | environmental sustainability: conservation, protection, restoration, renewable/alternative energy, waste/resource management, climate change, ecology | human rights: rights and responsibilities, freedom (of expression, association, etc.), civil liberties, social justice/equity, democracy | good health and well-being: healthy lifestyle, physical/emotional/ psychological/sexual/reproductive health, addiction awareness | culture of peace and non-violence: peace, peace-building, conflict resolution, reconciliation, mediation, non-violence, awareness of abuse/harassment, human security | economic sustainability: limits to growth, planetary boundaries, sustainable production/consumption, human resource/capital development, economy, employment, welfare | gender equality: gender equity, female empowerment/participation, gender roles/norms/socialization/balance/parity; sex ratio | global issues: globalization, global poverty/inequality/disparity, colonialism, genocide, terrorism, war, refugees | global system, structures and processes: global governance, international law, trans-national corporations
Values Related to SDG 4.7
Among the values that the countries’ curricula refer to most are 'nation as privileged referent of identity', ‘solidarity, global solidarity, common humanity’, and 'attitudes of care, empathy, dialogue, respect and compassion'. In two countries, national identity seems to be highlighted in particular. Strong emphases seem to be placed on values related to ‘solidarity, global solidarity, common humanity’ in one country. Values related to ‘curiosity’, ‘tolerance’, ‘resilience’, ‘diversity’, and ‘justice’ are also present though not at a high level, indicating that most countries consider them moderately important. On the other hand, many countries’ curricula seem to pay little attention to values related to ‘democratic participation’, ‘self-awareness’, and ‘anti-discrimination/anti-racism’. There is no reference made to ‘democratic participation’ in nine countries, and to ‘anti-discrimination/anti-racism’ in eleven countries.
Related words and phrases by category:
self-awareness: personal needs/concerns/hopes/aspirations/fears, an understanding of personal attributes/competencies, inner peace | justice, responsibility: values for social justice/equity/responsibility, living with compassion | democratic participation: active/participating member of society, democratic governance | respect/appreciation for diversity: respecting/appreciating racial/sexual/cultural diversity | tolerant/values of tolerance: creating/cultivating an environment of tolerance, acceptance of cultural diversity/forms of expressions/ways of being human | attitudes of care, empathy, dialogue, respect and compassion: ability to feel and share emotions, to aid others, concern for others and the environment | solidarity, global solidarity, common humanity: intercultural/local/national/regional/global solidarity, binding people together | humanity as privileged referent of identity: common humanity, global/international identity | nation as privileged referent of identity: national identity, patriotism/nationalism, motherland | anti-discrimination, anti-racism: attitude for anti-discrimination/anti-racism | curiosity: healthy curiosity, desire to know/to learn | resilience, coping with change: to cope with change/uncertainty/disasters, education for disaster risk reduction
Behaviours Related to SDG 4.7
Overall, fewer references are made to 4.7-related behaviours in the curricula. The most frequently mentioned category is ‘participation and active citizenship or civic engagement’, suggesting that social participation is encouraged in many countries. Discussions around ‘environmentally sustainable lifestyles’ and ‘social-ethically responsible consumers’ also seem to be included in the curricula of most countries. On the other hand, many countries do not seem to be interested in encouraging ‘engagement in debates on socio-political issues’, ‘current future participation in civic protest’, and ‘direct action on issues of global reach’. In fact, no country’s curricula refer to ‘direct action on issues of global reach’, implying, as found in the analysis of 4.7-related concepts, the need to accelerate and strengthen the promotion of Global Citizenship Education in the region.
Related words and phrases by category:
environmentally sustainable lifestyles: sustainable living, using less natural resources, taking personal responsibility for the environment, demonstrating conservation/protection/restoration, living in harmony with Earth | socially/ethically responsible/engaged; responsible consumers: awareness of social/environmental/cultural implications of products | participation at all levels, active citizenship, civic engagement, constructive participation, community volunteering: participation at local/national/global levels, participating in all aspects of society/community | current and future participation in civic protest: encouraging peaceful participation in protest against inequalities, signing petitions, demonstrating | engagement in debates on socio-political issues: participating in socio-political debates/discussions for local/national relevance (online or offline) | direct action on issues of global reach: demonstrating solutions to an issue, showing alternatives, revealing existing problems, taking non-violent actions
This information note was prepared for the Third Asia-Pacific Meeting on Education 2030 (APMEDIII), held between 4 and 7 July 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand. For inquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 The 13 countries include: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam.
2 Curricula for national language were available from 10 countries, and for mathematics, 12 countries.
3 The report of the study has been published by MGIEP as Rethinking Schooling for the 21st Century: The State of Education for Peace, Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship in Asia, available here.