Definitions

Definitions

Irish Aids (2017: 6) current strategic plan defines DE is as follows:

Development education is a lifelong educational process which aims to increase public awareness and understanding of the rapidly changing, interdependent and unequal world in which we live.  By challenging stereotypes and encouraging independent thinking, development education helps people to critically explore how global justice issues interlink with their everyday lives. Informed and engaged citizens are best placed to address complex social, economic and environmental issues linked to development. Development education empowers people to analyse, reflect on and challenge at a local and global level, the root causes and consequences of global hunger, poverty, injustice, inequality and climate change; presenting multiple perspectives on global justice issues.

In addition, Irish Aid is now using the term Global Citizenship Education (GCE) as an umbrella terms to include DE and Education for Sustainable Development (Irish Aid, 2017: 9).

Accordion Sample Description

The GENE report, perhaps more accurate, uses the term Global Education as the umbrella term (GENE, 2015: 13).

Global Education is education that opens peoples eyes and minds to the realities of the world, and awakens them to bring about a world of greater justice, equity and human rights for all. GE is understood to encompass Development Education, Human Rights Education, Education for Sustainability, Education for Peace and Conflict Prevention and Intercultural Education; being the global dimensions of Education for Citizenship (GENE, 2015: 13).

Development Education

Global Citizenship

Global Citizenship Education

Global Education

Some definitions for development education

Within the broader CP paradigm this thesis is framed more specifically with a DE lens.  The term DE can be difficult to articulate, not least because it is often used interchangeably with terms such as Education for Global Citizenship (EGC), Global Education (GE) (GENE Report, 2015:13; DICE, 2005: 11).  The GENE Report (ibid.) recognises that the term DE is widely accepted in Ireland.  Section 3.1 above outlines the development of the term DE in Ireland.  This section sets out some of the often used definitions of DE in Ireland and to briefly explain how these sit alongside other so-called adjectival educations such as Global Citizenship Education (GCE) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

Irish Aids (2017: 6) current strategic plan defines DE is as follows:

Development education is a lifelong educational process which aims to increase public awareness and understanding of the rapidly changing, interdependent and unequal world in which we live.  By challenging stereotypes and encouraging independent thinking, development education helps people to critically explore how global justice issues interlink with their everyday lives. Informed and engaged citizens are best placed to address complex social, economic and environmental issues linked to development. Development education empowers people to analyse, reflect on and challenge at a local and global level, the root causes and consequences of global hunger, poverty, injustice, inequality and climate change; presenting multiple perspectives on global justice issues.

In addition, Irish Aid is now using the term Global Citizenship Education (GCE) as an umbrella terms to include DE and ESD (Irish Aid, 207: 9).

 

The GENE report, perhaps more accurate, uses the term Global Education as the umbrella term (GENE, 2015: 13).

Global Education is education that opens peoples eyes and minds to the realities of the world, and awakens them to bring about a world of greater justice, equity and human rights for all. GE is understood to encompass Development Education, Human Rights Education, Education for Sustainability, Education for Peace and Conflict Prevention and Intercultural Education; being the global dimensions of Education for Citizenship (GENE, 2015: 13).

In Ireland, DE is also being increasingly situated within an Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) frame. For instance, Irish Aids DE Strategy 2017-2023 (Irish Aid, 2017: 6) links DE to the Sustainable Education Strategy for Ireland (DES, 2014: 3).  It is interesting to note the different emphasis in this definition, from earlier definitions such as in the first Irish Aid (then Development Cooperation Ireland) strategic plan (DCI, 2003: 11). The current definition places emphasis on environmental and climate justice, and the word political (structures) has been removed from the earlier 2003 definition.

There is some tension in academic discourse in Ireland regarding retention of the term DE.  For instance, Hogan and Tormey (DE 2008: 6) argue that ESD and DE, are similar in terms of content, methodology, ideology and commitment to action for positive change and it is essential that practitioners work together to share educational expertise, to combine forces and to strategically plan for a future that places DE and ESD at the centre of formal, non-formal and informal education.  Regan (2015: 1), whom this thesis supports, argues that DE has a unique and specific pedigree (2015:1) which is rooted primarily in the lived experiences of aid and development workers and organisations working in Africa, Latin America and Asia.  He notes too that there is another rich strand emanating from those working with marginalised communities in the developed world (ibid.: 1).  DE, he says, highlights the condition of the worlds excluded, oppressed, poor and hungry and attempts to mobilise international action.  DE is specifically political; something we are in danger of losing as DE becomes institutionalised:

The interests of the poorest must be at the forefront of debates about sustainability, climate change, the SDGs, ethical trade and consumption. The place of DE is alongside the poor and the excluded in the world.  It is not in academia and libraries, which are increasingly inaccessible to all but a few.  DE is about educational activism; it is about stimulating public debate … we would do well to reconsider some of our roots and histories and not be swept along, by the latest theory or fashion - our roots are strong, specific and political - we lose them at our peril (Regan., 2015:1).

Having reviewed a wide range of DE definitions Colm Regan, of the organisation 80:20 (Daly et al, 2015: 1) describes DE as follows:

(DE) Focuses directly on key development and human rights issues locally and internationally;  seeks to stimulate, inform and raise awareness of issues from a justice and/or rights perspective; routinely links local and global issues; explores key dimensions such as individual and public dispositions and values; ideas and understandings, capabilities and skills; Critically engages with the causes and effects of poverty and injustice; encourages public enquiry, discussion, debate and judgement of key issues; encourages, supports and informs action-orientated activities and reflection in support of greater justice; takes significant account of educational theory and practice; Emphasises critical thinking and self-directed action; Seeks to promote experiential learning and participative methodologies; routinely challenges assumptions by engaging with multiple, diverse and contested perspectives.

Overall, according to Dillon (2018: 60) for IDEA, the Irish Development Education Association, there is a working assumption that the term DE is used in the Irish context and that it encompasses ESD, human rights education, intercultural education and education for global citizenship (2016c).   Bryan (2014: 2-3) recognises that there are concerns within some in the DE sector who prefer to use the term global citizenship education (GCE) rather than DE. They question the appropriateness of the term development education as an umbrella for a range of so called adjectival educations, such as human rights education, multicultural education, or global education.  Bourn (2014: 1) expresses concern about the conceptual confusion that has arisen from the use of different terms to refer to similar themes, issues and pedagogical approaches (Bourn, 2014).  Bryan (ibid: 2) argues that these different educations are deeply entangled terms that more or less represent one and the same thing (2014: 2).  She suggests that whether we refer to the pedagogical process as DE or GCE is probably of less significance than the underlying vision and political and ideological interests which shape how educational programmes are designed and enacted.

 

There is some tension in academic discourse in Ireland regarding retention of the term DE as opposed to the term Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).  For instance, Hogan and Tormey (DE 2008: 6) argue that ESD and DE, are similar in terms of content, methodology, ideology and commitment to action for positive change and it is essential that practitioners work together to share educational expertise, to combine forces and to strategically plan for a future that places DE and ESD at the centre of formal, non-formal and informal education.  Regan (2015: 1) while admitting that he finds this debate tiring and unproductive - and a distraction from the work itself - contends that the term DE is important and accurate.  Regan, whom this thesis supports, argues that DE has a unique and specific pedigree which is rooted primarily in the lived experiences of aid and development workers and organisations working in Africa, Latin America and Asia.  Abandoning it, he says, would weaken and dilute the DE agenda, particularly from an NGO perspective.  He notes too that there is another rich strand emanating from those working with marginalised communities in the developed world (ibid.: 1).  DE, he says, highlights the condition of the worlds excluded, oppressed, poor and hungry and attempts to mobilise international action.  DE is specifically political; something we are in danger of losing as DE becomes institutionalised:

The interests of the poorest must be at the forefront of debates about sustainability, climate change, the SDGs, ethical trade and consumption. The place of DE is alongside the poor and the excluded in the world.  It is not in academia and libraries, which are increasingly inaccessible to all but a few.  DE is about educational activism; it is about stimulating public debate … we would do well to reconsider some of our roots and histories and not be swept along, by the latest theory or fashion - our roots are strong, specific and political - we lose them at our peril (Regan., 2015:1).

Hogan and Tormey (2008) took a pragmatic view.  ESD and DE, they said, are similar in terms of content, methodology, ideology and commitment to action for positive change and it is essential that practitioners work together to share educational expertise, to combine forces and to strategically plan for a future that places DE and ESD at the centre of formal, non-formal and informal education (Hogan and Tormey, 2008: 6).

I disagree with Regan that the debate is unproductive and a distraction from the work. The very essence of DE from a Freirean perspective is critical reflection (Freire and Macedo, 2001).  Academics and practitioners must be critically aware of what they are seeking to achieve and rather than distract, a more informed, well researched and robust analysis is not just essential, but in my view is lacking in the general discourse in Ireland.  I agree with Regan that it is vital that we remember the roots of our work.  Of course, as Hogan and Tormey (2008: 1) suggested, we must work with others but we must also hold onto our core aspirations, articulate them, strive to achieve them and understand more clearly who our allies are from all traditions and disciplines.  However, ultimately I agree with Regan, the term DE in Ireland has a very specific political, action-orientated and social justice pedigree, and I see sustainable development as a vital DE theme, alongside other themes such as human rights, gender equality, migration or trade.

Skinner et al outline how recent theory and practice in the field draws on a range of work by academics and thinkers from a variety of contexts around the world, and there is growing evidence of a diverse range of perspectives on development education deriving from a plethora of organisations (e.g. NGOs, government initiatives) anchored in particular national contexts (see Dudková, 2008; Helin, 2009; Ishii, 2003; Knutsson, 2011; Rasaren, 2009; Reagan, 2006). (Skinner et al., 2013).

Drawing on these experiences of theory and practice Skinner et all set out a useful set of principles of development education theory and practice.  They suggest that there is an emerging consensus amongst NGOs and academics regarding the main constituents of this body of practice. They summarise this as follows:

TABLE 2: Skinners principles of development education theory and practice

Definition 1: Most recently, Goal 4.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals focuses on global citizenship:

By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of cultures contribution to sustainable development.

Key ideas: knowledge, skills sustainable development, sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, culture of peace, nonviolence, global citizenship, diversity.

Definition 2: For Irish Aid, development education is:

An educational process aimed at increasing awareness and understanding of the rapidly changing, interdependent and unequal world in which we live. It seeks to engage people in analysis, reflection and action for local and global citizenship and participation. It is about supporting people in understanding, and in acting to transform the social, cultural, political and economic structures which affect their lives and others at personal, community, national and international levels.

As part of Irelands updated policy on international development, its states

[In Ireland] … development education aims to deepen understanding, and encourage people towards taking action for a more just and equal world. It provides a unique opportunity for people in Ireland to reflect on their roles and responsibilities as global citizens.

Key ideas: process, awareness and understanding, interdependence, inequality, analysis, action, citizenship, transformation, personal, community, national and international levels.

Definition 3: The Irish Development Education Association (IDEA) shares this definition with Irish Aid and adds:

Development Education enables people to understand the world around them and to act to transform it. Development Education works to tackle the root causes of injustice and inequality, globally and locally. The world we live in is unequal, rapidly changing and often unjust. Our everyday lives are affected by global forces. Development Education is about understanding those forces and how to change them to create a more just and sustainable future for everyone.

Key ideas: transform, root causes, injustice, inequality, global forces, change, just and sustainable.

Definition 4: In 1975, the United Nations definition of development education stated:

The objective of development education is to enable people to participate in the development of their community, their nation and the world as a whole. Such participation implies a critical awareness of local, national and international situations based on an understanding of the social, economic and political processes.

Development education is concerned with issues of human rights, dignity, self-reliance and social justice in both developed and developing countries. It is concerned with the causes of under-development and the promotion of an understanding of what is in development, of how different countries go about undertaking development, and of the reasons for and ways of achieving a new international economic and social order.

The objectives of development education can be achieved through formal and non-formal education but, in the formal context in particular, they inevitably imply fundamental educational reforms.

  • Statement by UN Food and Agriculture Organisation & UN Information Committee (1975).

Key ideas: participation, critical awareness, processes, understanding, human rights, human dignity, self-reliance, social justice, root causes, new international economic and social order

Definition 5: For the Ubuntu Network of educators in Ireland development education is:

…about raising awareness and understanding of local and global inequality. It looks at poverty, injustices and unsustainable practices. It questions why the world is the way it is and what we can do to make it better. Development education builds the skills necessary to engage with these issues (critical thinking, information processing, systems thinking and communication). Development education considers the role of the Developed World in perpetuating and responding to global inequality and, most of all it fosters an attitude of empathy and care for other people and the planet…

Key ideas: awareness and understanding, poverty, injustice unsustainability, appropriate action, skills, the role of the Developed World, care and empathy, people and planet

Definition 6: For the European Confederation of Development and Relief NGOs (Concord):

Development education is an active learning process, founded on values of solidarity, equality, inclusion and co-operation. It enables people to move from basic awareness of international development priorities and sustainable human development, through understanding of the causes and effects of global issues to personal involvement and informed actions. Development education fosters the full participation of all citizens in world-wide poverty eradication, and the fight against exclusion. It seeks to influence more just and sustainable economic, social, environmental, human rights based on national and international policies.

  • CONCORD Statement on Development Education and Awareness Raising, (November 2004)

Key ideas: active learning, solidarity, equality, awareness, understanding, cause and effect, personal informed action, participation, citizenship, human rights, national and international policy.

Definition 7: For the UKs Development Education Association and Global Dimensions, development education and the global dimension (with a focus on schools-based learning and the role of young people):

With a global dimension to their education, learners have a chance to engage with complex global issues and explore the links between their own lives and people, places and issues throughout the world. Education plays a vital role in helping children and young people recognise their responsibilities as citizens of the global community. It equips them with the skills required to make informed decisions and take responsible actions.

By including the global dimension in teaching, links can easily be made between local and global issues, and young people and educators are given the opportunity to:

  • critically examine their own values and attitudes
  • appreciate the similarities between people everywhere, and learn to value diversity
  • understand the global context of their local lives
  • develop skills that will enable them to combat injustice, prejudice and discrimination.

Such knowledge, skills and understanding enable young people to make informed decisions about how they can play an active role in their local and global community.

Key ideas: complex global issues, links, responsibilities, citizenship, skills, action, values and attitudes, similarity and diversity, combatting injustice, prejudice and discrimination.

From the above definitions, then, it can be argued that there are three main aspects that appear in definitions of development education:

  1. personal development,
  2. problems to be solved, and
  3. social change; specifically in the context of human development, human rights and sustainable development.

1.2 So, a description of development education…

Arising directly from the above (brief) discussion on definitions, it is possible to offer a description of key characteristics of development education. Such a description is inevitably limited and selective and is, again offered for discussion and debate.

Development education:

  • Focuses directly on key development and human rights issues locally and internationally
  • Seeks to stimulate, inform and raise awareness of issues from a justice and/or rights perspective
  • Routinely links local and global issues
  • Explores key dimensions such as individual and public dispositions and values; ideas and understandings, capabilities and skills
  • Critically engages with the causes and effects of poverty and injustice
  • Encourages public enquiry, discussion, debate and judgement of key issues
  • Encourages, supports and informs action-orientated activities and reflection in support of greater justice
  • Takes significant account of educational theory and practice
  • Emphasises critical thinking and self-directed action
  • Seeks to promote experiential learning and participative methodologies
  • Routinely challenges assumptions by engaging with multiple, diverse and contested perspectives 

Skinners principles of development education theory and practice (Skinner et al., 2013). 

Developing an understanding of the globalised worldDeveloping an understanding of links between our own lives and those of people throughout the world, local-global interdependencies and power relations, global and local development and environmental challenges, and issues of identity and diversity in multicultural contexts
This understanding is developed through:
A values based approach to learningA learning approach based on values of justice, equality, inclusion, human rights, solidarity, and respect for others and for the environment.
Participatory and transformative learning processMethodologies are active and learner-centred, participatory and reflective, experiential, and involve multiple perspectives and aim to empower the learner
Developing competencies of critical (self) reflectionA learning process relevant to development in a globalised world develops the skills to evaluate and reflect on the learners place, role and responsibility in their community and the wider world, to change perspectives and critically scrutinise their own attitudes, stereotypes and points of view, to form their own opinion, to make autonomous and responsible choices, to participate in decision-making processes, and to learn how to learn.
Supporting active engagementThis work implicitly and explicitly addresses and investigates attitudes and behaviours (of ourselves, and of others), particularly those that encourage and discourage responsible and informed action and engagement in a more just and sustainable world
The development of the above mentioned skills, values, attitudes and processes of engagement aims to:
Active local and global citizenshipEmpower people to participate in public affairs, strengthen civil society and foster a living democracy, enhance citizens active involvement and engagement for social change within their local communities, and promote a sense of global citizenship and of co-responsibility at the global level

Skinner has adapted this from Rajacic et al., 2010, 118.