While basic skill development and workforce preparation skills are important in the world education system, a paradigm shift must take place recognizing that in order to be truly globally competitive, we must be globally competent.
Educating young people to become global citizens will allow them to learn about the interdependence of the world’s systems, believe that solutions to global challenges are attainable, feel morally compelled to confront global injustices and take responsible action to promote a just, peaceful and sustainable world.
While at first glance a focus on global citizenship may seem secondary in a system where basic literacy remains a challenge for many, these skills are vital. If we truly aspire to have a world-class education system, we must engage with the world. The challenges that face the world today—from global poverty and climate change to financial systems and conflict—require globally-minded solutions.
Global competency skills are necessary so that young people can invent a future that appropriately addresses global challenges.
The advent of technology and communication advancements have made global citizenship education a need rather than a luxury—and more feasible than ever before. Social entrepreneurs have developed models to integrate global citizenship education into formal and informal education opportunities for American youth. These initiatives, while developed at the individual level, are proven models that can be adopted and taken to scale.
The program is a cross-sector model that partners with high schools and colleges in the United States and NGOs around the world to create opportunities for emerging leaders to work as apprentices in Asia, Africa and Latin America in the year between high school and college. GCY has pledged to engage 1,000 young people in the program by 2015 to unleash a pipeline of emerging leaders to find innovative solutions to the global challenges of the 21st century.