Skip to main content

This content from the Department of Foreign Affairs has moved to

Níl an leagan Gaeilge ar fáil go fóill, má’s maith leat an leagan Béarla a léamh brúigh anseo.

WorldWise Global Schools - Global Citizenship Education in Practice Symposium

WorldWise Global Schools - Global Citizenship Education in Practice Symposium

Marie Therese Kilmartin and Anthony Doogan © Mark Stedman of Stedman Photography.

Irish Aid and the WorldWise Global Schools team hosted the inaugural Global Citizenship Education in Practice Symposium in Iveagh House on Wednesday, 16 May 2018. The symposium brought together both principals and deputy principals, and Development Education/Global Citizenship Education practitioners from schools that are currently in receipt of grant funding or Global Passport awards from WorldWise Global Schools (WWGS).

The WWGS programme works with schools across Ireland, helping to integrate development education into all aspects of teaching and learning at post-primary level. A comprehensive range of supports and interventions are offered including grant funding, training, events, resources and personalised support. The programme is fully funded by Irish Aid.

The aim of the symposium was to encourage post-primary schools to engage with the programme at management level and to increase the awareness and understanding of principals and deputy principals of the value and relevance of Development Education (DE)/Global Citizenship Education (GCE). It hoped to demonstrate to school management the role that DE/GCE can play in helping to fulfill their existing wellbeing requirements, under the new Junior Cycle Framework (2015), in addition to opportunities at Transition Year (TY) and Senior Cycle level.


Orla McBreen, Director CSDEU, Irish Aid. © Mark Stedman of Stedman Photography

Orla Mc Breen, Director of the Civil Society and Development Education Unit of Irish Aid, introduced Minister Ciarán Cannon, TD, who was the Key Note Speaker. Minister Cannon said:

"Development education is critical to achieving the promise of transformative change that defines the Sustainable Development Goals and that is why here in Irish Aid we are so committed to our development education programmes."

He thanked the principals and deputy principals for attending the event and said:

"To succeed, change needs to be part of a wider vision or ethos and implemented through strong and committed support from senior leadership within the school. The willingness and capacity of school management to support teachers in development education endeavours is crucial. You are already playing a vital role by providing a nurturing and enabling environment for Global Citizenship Education in your schools."


Minister Cannon addresses the Symposium. © Mark Stedman of Stedman Photography

Jen Simpson (University College London Institute of Education) presented a session: 'Learning to Unlearn the Charity Mentality within Schools'. Her research found that teachers hold a potentially pivotal role in promoting a just and sustainable world. However, in many schools, global learning begins with charity and fundraising and does not reach beyond this 'charity mentality'. Jen made the point that while charity is a starting point for many schools and that it should be valued, it should not be the end point. The ideal is to move from a 'charity mentality' which can distort people's perceptions of other countries or peoples, towards a 'social justice mentality'.


Jen Simpson© Mark Stedman of Stedman Photography

This session was followed by a very interesting panel discussion on Global Citizenship in the post-primary curriculum. The panel was comprised of MC Annette Honan (National Council for Curriculum and Assessment), Áine O'Sullivan (Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools), Valerie Lewis (Education and Training Boards Ireland) and Áine Woods (Science Advisor at Junior Cycle for Teachers).


Áine Woods, Valerie Lewis, Annette Honan, Áine O’Sullivan. © Mark Stedman of Stedman Photography

In the afternoon school principals shared their stories of best practice, providing excellent examples of implementing a whole school approach in their schools. Principal

Marie Therese Kilmartin from Coláiste Bríde, Clondalkin, led the session with school principals David McDonagh from Ballyhaunis Community School, Anthony Doogan, from Moville Community

College and Kathy Jones from Bremore Educate Together Secondary School, Balbriggan. Anthony Doogan spoke of the importance of educating young people to be good global citizens who are knowledgeable about and tolerant of other cultures.


Rita Walsh, Director, WorldWise Global Schools. © Mark Stedman of Stedman Photography

The final session was 'Next Steps on Global Citizenship Education in schools' in which groups were facilitated to consider the steps they could take to further integrate and embed Global Citizenship in their schools.

Michael Doorly, Head of Active Citizenship at Concern, closed the symposium, reminding us that the word 'charity' comes from the Latin 'caritas' which means 'love for all' and that charity still has a role to play as we continue on our journey towards achieving social justice for all.

It is hoped that WWGS can build on the success of this excellent inaugural event as the support and commitment of school management is crucial for the successful implementation of Development Education/Global Citizenship Education in our schools.