The deadline for the Global Passport Award closes this Monday, 29th February. Programme Support Officer with Worldwise Global Schools, Laura Cahill, speaks to Tony Daly about the Award for post primary schools, as well as some highlights from 2015.

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Why should teachers, young people and their schools apply for the Global Passport award?

The Global Passport recognises and rewards schools forScreen Shot 2016-01-26 at 16.39.45 the development education work they undertake. It provides a framework that assists the integration of development education (DE) into the whole school, across a broad range of areas (represented by the Passport ‘stamps’).

Development education is essential for both teachers and young people to learn about the world in which they live. The Global Passport Award provides a great opportunity for schools to be more creative in embedding development education across all aspects of school life.

Development education isn’t just about what you are learning about and relating the issues to the curriculum – it’s also about using creative methodologies to build a broad range of skills in students. It provides a space for students to really explore and take action on local to global issues of importance and build skills in doing this – and this kind of skills-based work can be recognised and validated through applying for the Global Passport.

Many of the teachers we work with have said that engaging in development education makes their jobs so interesting and adds a whole new dimension to their work, bringing lots of positive energy to their schools.

We know that lots of schools may be doing development education without necessarily calling it that. The Global Passport Award presents an opportunity to celebrate what is already being done in schools and to give recognition for that, not just to those schools that are supported through the WorldWise programme.

What are the Global Passport Awards all about?

The Global Passport recognises and validates good practice development education being done by schools in Ireland. It provides a framework for self-assessment of development education across seven ‘stamps’, which cover the seven key areas where development education can take place – such as the curriculum, extra-curricular activities, student capacity building, teacher capacity building and school policy/ethos.

Teachers can use the framework to rate their development education work, which then determines which level of passport they receive. The three categories of Passport are:

  • emerging (for those starting out in development education);
  • diplomatic (for those that have a more established development education programme);
  • and special (for outstanding development education taking place on a whole-school basis).

All those schools that are successful in applying for a Global Passport are presented with their awards at the WorldWise Annual Conference held annually in April. And the WorldWise staff support teachers and schools in making their applications, if they’re unsure about any aspect.

The ‘diplomatic award’ has an interesting name. I’d see the ‘undiplomatic award’ as something for those who are ready to up their game and move into the next stage…

[laughs] That’s a good point – they’re good names! I’ll put it forward to the team…

Glad to hear it!

In terms of people that work with schools, such as non-governmental organisations, how do they fit in as part of the awards?

Within the stamps there are categories, and one of the stamps in the extra-curricular category specifcially relates to NGOs and their development education input in schools. Another of the stamps is on ‘fostering respectful relationships’, so that would be in relation to partnerships with other schools, as well as engagement with stakeholders in and around the school community, as well as external stakeholders (which may include NGOs).

NGOs are also funded through WorldWise Global Schools to build schools’ capacity in development education, so they play a vital role in building the quality of DE at post-primary level.

Photo: Use the stickers (21st April 2015) by Tony Daly/developmenteducation.ie
Photo: Use the stickers (21st April 2015) by Tony Daly/developmenteducation.ie at the Worldwise Global Schools Annual Conference 2015.

What has been the impact of the Awards?

The Global Passport has been great for increasing the profile and status of development education in schools. Development education may have previously relied on a ‘one passionate teacher working on-their-own in a school’ approach. The Passport provides a clear framework for teachers to engage the rest of the school community, and not operate in isolation. It creates a platform for DE to become more of a team effort, involving the whole of the school – students and staff alike.

The Global Passport also provides a strong framework for teachers that want to do development education but are unsure where to start. The framework provides a step-by-step approach with individual stamps where they can take development education one bite at a time. The end of year awards and banner that are presented to successful Global Passport applicants also serve as great motivators for schools, as they create visibility and recognition by celebrating all of the development education work and skills within a school community.

The Global Passport Awards journey has also been very empowering for students within schools. Young people doing development education are engaging in peer education workshops, learning about global issues and building new skills they would never have had access to before within the formal curriculum. They build other skills such as taking informed action, improving their communication, and they can talk about and take action on global justice issues which is very empowering.

Have you some highlights from last year’s Award winners?

We had 35 schools who received the Global Passport Award last year, which we were delighted with given that it was the first year of the Award. It’s been marvellous to see the enthusiasm from teachers, principals and schools who have gotten involved.

The fact that there is a demand for development education to be celebrated and valued across a broad spectrum of schools is a highlight for us, and we hope to build on that this year.

Many of the development education projects funded by WorldWise Global Schools last year have been inspirational, for both us and other teachers across the programme.

During our teacher training residential – which was held in October – two of our participating teachers presented to their peers about their experiences of development education and their journeys in embedding a whole-school approach: Noreen Carolan from Beaufort College in Navan; and Jose Horte from Davis College in Mallow.

Jose, for example, who applied for a cluster grant from WorldWise, invited the schools to participate in a mock-United Nations general assembly simulation. Following this schools participting wanted to do something similar and followed Jose’s lead developing their own UN general assembly simulations. A similar rush of enthusiasm from teachers came after Noreen shared the impact of the Glocal Fest she ran in Beaufort College in Navan.

Case study examples of what schools have done are available under each of the seven stamps on our website for anyone that would like to explore more and to give support and guidance based on the experience of other schools. These are:

  1. Curricular
  2. Extra-Curricular
  3. Teacher Capacity & Engagement
  4. Student Capacity & Engagement
  5. School Leadership
  6. Policy & Ethos
  7. Respectful Relationships within and Beyond the School

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Register for the Passport Award before Monday 29th February at www.worldwiseschools.ie/register-your-interest

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