A school that creates “citizens of the world”

Posted on 10 juni, 2013 av


By Dimitrios Karampelas. Twitter @KarampelasD

A thought that reoccurs in my mind when I focus on our actual goals as a world society is that human being acts like a “parasite”! We use the resources planet gives us in a non-sustainable way and we even search for other “habitable” planets in our universe with the fear that the earth will not be habitable in the near future! Furthermore, we are competitive to each other for the control of these resources to such a level that we even go to war.

The question that arises so far is “What we need to change that?” The answer is more complicated than the problem itself but I will try to simplify it. We need citizens of the world – future generations with a global perspective (or “glocal” if we assume that global and local levels interact with each other). And this, in my opinion, should be a major “social engineering” project not implemented only by political agents but primarily by school teachers and the family.

The school environment and school curriculum is the best way to change the perceptions people have about the world and the world society. It is seriously problematic for our societies that a person has to go to the university in order to have a deep understanding about important themes such as social change, diversity, identity, poverty and wealth, global justice and sustainability. Themes that we all meet in our daily lives and which, in my opinion promote and encourage critical thinking about social, local and global problems. We have to inculcate the young with an approach which takes into account the whole of human society and the environments in which people live in. The school curricula must give emphasis on the future (what kind of society we want?), the dynamic nature of human society, and each person’s capacity to choose and shape its future. In other words, we have to understand that we belong to a greater, global union of local societies.

This approach should be based on two dimensions of interaction – space and time. On a spatial basis, students could get an understanding of the interaction between the local and the global levels. They would explore the reasons and the ways of interaction (media, social media, NGOs ect) which finally lead to social change. On the other hand, on a temporal basis, students could make connections between the past, the present and the future of this dynamic world and could further understand how the history of this interaction reflects on our personal identity and on our nature as citizens of the world.

An approach like this creates, in my opinion, a sense of community with the people around the world and a more positive attitude towards diversity and difference. It emphasizes on “we” and not only on “I” discouraging students from following competitive practices in the school environment and from creating stereotypes.

If future generations could recognize this social economic, political and environmental interdependence that creates a global society and binds us together, then we would be able to understand the real nature of sustainability at all levels. It is obvious though that the issue is much more complicated than described here, but Skolvåren gives the opportunity to all of us to debate and put our ideas on the table.

A few things about me: I am not an educationalist not even a school teacher. I was born in Thessaloniki, Greece and I hold a Bachelor’s degree on culture and history of the Black Sea countries from the Democritus University of Greece and two Masters degrees on european political studies and international relations from the University of Athens and Malmö University, respectively. I consider myself as person who makes questions and seeks answers guided mostly by common sense. I speak Greek, Swedish and English. You can find a more detailed presentation in my profile on LinkedIn.

Posted in: Gästbloggare