Teach the history of co-existence over conflict

How humans worked out how to live together

Global Learning Goal #2 from the ‘Kindling the Flame’ report

This is an excerpt from the report ‘Kindling the Flame’ by Towards Global Learning Goals, released January 2018.

  • Most education systems prioritise the history of nations and states over the history of humanity.
  • Within national history, students spend most time studying conflicts – normally those that their countries won.
  • This is too often at the expense of understanding how political and social systems developed – usually with blood, toil, sweat and tears – to allow humans to live and work together.
  • In place of education systems that prioritise the teaching of conflict, education should cover the development of political and social systems for coexistence and peace.

Where are we doing this well?

Movements to give pupils lessons in coexistence are being driven by individuals and communities in Rwanda, South Africa and Northern Ireland.
France introduced civic and moral education in 2016. The aim is to allow pupils to grasp the rule of law, individual and collective freedoms and equality in a democratic society. The pioneering programme of liberty, equality, secularism and justice and how a citizen’s rights interact with those of their community.
Lebanon’s National Charter for Education on Living Together gives pupils the knowledge and attitudes to coexist in one of the most diverse societies on earth.
Movements to give pupils lessons in coexistence are being driven by individuals and communities in Rwanda, South Africa and Northern Ireland.
Movements to give pupils lessons in coexistence are being driven by individuals and communities in Rwanda, South Africa and Northern Ireland.

[The Gall-Peters Projection World Map is being used by some educators to demonstrate the true relative size of countries and so reduce the size bias against countries near the Equator in the more widely-used Mercator map.]

Know of other innovations we should champion? Please contact us to look into in our next report.

It is not just governments grappling with how to teach coexistence.

Animation company BigBadBoo produces entertainment as a tool to teach non-violence, empathy, diversity, citizenship. Their 1001 Nights series airs in 80 countries and 25 languages. Big Bad Boo also works with UNICEF in Jordan to provide refugees with psychosocial support through animated activity books.

As Sean Coughlan cautioned us, we must be certain that the idea of ‘global competency’ is not a Western export.

Sean CoughlanBBC Education Correspondent

Vanessa Andreotti also warned us that citizenship education too often addresses issues in a way that takes for granted that Western perspectives are universal.

Prof. Vanessa AndreottiUniversity of British Colombia

Read the full report (including how we can make global learning goals real for everyone) by Towards Global Learning Goals:
‘Kindling the Flame’