(2000), "The Central Bureau National Conference 1999, "Developing global citizens raising standards"", Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 24 No. 7. https://doi.org/10.1108/jeit.2000.00324gab.015Download as .RIS
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The Central Bureau National Conference 1999, "Developing global citizens raising standards"
The Central Bureau National Conference 1999, "Developing global citizens – raising standards"Keywords: Conferences, Education, Motivation, Young people
The Central Bureau for International Education and Training National Conference 1999, was held on 4 November and was attended by 320 delegates drawn from 26 countries. The delegates spanned all phases of education.
The conference provided an opportunity to reflect on the issues surrounding global citizenship and how international experience could raise young people's levels of achievement and motivation. It was chaired by Caroline St John-Brooks, Editor of the Times Educational Supplement, and Keith Anderson, Chairman of the Central Bureau Steering Committee.
Opening perspectives came from the policy makers: Estelle Morris, UK Minister for School Standards, and Michael Barber, Head of the UK Department for Education and Employment's (DfEE's) Standards and Effectiveness Unit.
Estelle Morris emphasised that, on the brink of a new millennium, a shrinking world and an increasingly global economy rendered it imperative for schools to address the citizenship agenda. The low turnout in recent elections was a worrying sign that this was not yet happening; it was clear that Britain was trailing behind other countries in this area. This was why the Secretary of State was not introducing citizenship into the curriculum, which would incorporate three strands: social and moral responsibilities; community involvement; and political literacy.
The international dimension was also being incorporated into the DfEE's plans for a National Leadership College in order that heads could learn best practice from other countries. In this sense, global citizenship could be viewed not simply as a challenge facing children, but as something that could also enhance teachers' own performance and working life.
"I want more teachers to have the opportunity to both travel abroad and talk with people in other countries to learn from best practice. And, in that respect, I'm very grateful to the Central Bureau", said Estelle Morris.
Michael Barber outlined plans for the education service to achieve "world class" standards. Excellence in Schools had aimed to improve on the existing system by establishing firm foundations in the primary years, and addressing school improvement and inclusion. A second wave of reform now aimed to transform the existing system by: introducing an ICT infrastructure; modernising schools through collaboration with each other and with the wider community; and modernising the teaching profession in various ways, including international exchange experience and the study of good practice in other countries.
Why was it important to aim for world class status? First, the economic imperative: if UK standards did not compare well with other countries then it would be letting its young people down. Then came the quality of society the UK wanted in the future, and the need to provide an education which developed people's sense of responsibility and awareness of their rights. Third, the democratic imperative: young people were currently disconnected from the political process. However, the most pressing reason was that generated by the environmental challenges and ethical choices facing humanity.
"They are difficult choices, they are not choices that can be left to experts or a small group of the powerful. They are choices that are going to be made globally, nationally, locally and indeed individually. That is why we need to make sure that education is for the many and not for the few and why we need a world-class education system", said Michael Barber.
A European perspective was then provided by Latchezar Toshev, vice-president of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly. He spoke of the Council of Europe's mission: to build a more tolerant and just society; to strengthen people's awareness and understanding of their rights and to increase the respect people give to the rights of others. The Council of Europe considers education to be paramount in instilling a culture which ensures respect for human rights, an understanding of responsibilities and the need for democratic citizenship.
TV news personality, Jon Snow, then gave a global – and personal – perspective. He spoke of the need for a much greater awareness of the world in which we live as the fundamental challenge facing us today. While the quality of the means of communication is increasing, the quality of its content is often decreasing as we are constantly exposed to stereotypical pictures of the rest of the world.
Presentation sessions in the afternoon covered a wide range of issues: comparing how citizenship was delivered in different ways within the UK and across the world; and highlighting good practice developed by particular projects.
Peter Upton, Director of the Central Bureau, closed the conference by emphasising that the principles and values of citizenship went hand-in-hand with school improvement and that the day's speakers had clearly shown that citizenship was very much in the mainstream in education.
Copies of the main speeches from the conference can be accessed on the Central Bureau's Web pages (http://www.britishcouncil.org/cbeve/).