[video] Global Education – about the World in Us and Us in the World

Ozolaine Preschool Educational Institution (PEI) in Rezekne Amalgamated Municipality is attended by children. Among children with fair hair we can see also some dark-skinned children with black curly hair; somebody gets around in a wheelchair...

Ozolaine Preschool Educational Institution (PEI) in Rezekne Amalgamated Municipality is attended by different children. Among children with fair hair and plaits characteristic to Latvian girls we can see also some dark-skinned children with black curly hair; somebody gets around in a wheelchair. Valentina Maliseva ( Valentīna Mališeva), director of the preschool educational institution, acknowledges that it is no obstacle for children to communicate and play. “The children are more modern, open; they perceive the world as it is. To the adults, who sometimes emphasize these differences as a painful issue, we ask: is a child with glasses worse than a child without them? S/he is not worse! A child has a wheelchair, the other has not; one child’s skinn is white, the other’s black. The children perceive it very well – we have no problems.”

Ozolaine Preschool Educational Institution is one 24 educational institutions of Rezekne Amalgamated Municipality that has involved in the international project “Global Schools”, which will be implemented in the amalagamated municipality from 2015 till 2018. During three years the teachers will have an opportunity to acquire the themes of global education (GE), to broaden their vision on GE, as well as to apply in practice the acquired knowledge by explaining the children how to understand modern world and oneself in the world, how by changing themselves to make the world a better place. On 16 December, at the water-tourism cenre “Baka”, within the framework of the project, there was a round-table discussion organized, where the participants were the representatives of schools involved in the project, the experts of project “Global Schools”, as well as the representatives of Gulbena Amalgamated Municipality local government who had already participated in the similar project. The participants of the discussion tried to find out why it is import o talk about the themes of global education in the modern changing world, what is the place of Latvia within the process, what themes are topical in Rezekne Amalgamated Municipality.

Apple and the Globe

At the beginning of the round-table discussion each of the project participants had to present his or her educational institution by telling to things – what we are poud of and what is expected from the involvement in the project “Global Schools”. Each participant had a lot to tell, while answering the first question, whereas the second question made the representatives of schools to express briefly and feel unsecure. Olesja Apine ( Oļesja Apīne ), the director of Cornaja ( Čornaja ) Preschool Educational Institution “Brīnumzeme” ( “Woderland” ) had brought with her a daisy. “On each petal there is written what we are proud of – these are our children, parents, projects, collective, new ideas, and it is the basis for everything. What do we expect from the project? Perhaps, knowledge from foreign participants, to find out what do they think about this global education, as well as we would like to share with our knowledge.” Within the framework of project, the representatives of Malta Secondary School and Preschool Educational Institution “Dzīpariņš” ( “Little Worsted” ) would like to obtain new methodological materials, acquaint with persons who hold the same views, they would like acquire new knowledge about the global issues in the world, as well as not to lose own identity in the multinational environment. “We would like to have insight into how to live better in the better world,” – emphasized Liga ( Līga ) Salmane, a teacher of Makasani Vocational Secondary School named after Lucija Rancane ( Lūcija Rancāne ).

PhD Inga Belousa, the leading expert of the project, explained the essence of global education by demonstration: she held an apple from her grandmother’s garden in Latgale in one hand, while in another hand she held a globe of the same size, because only the awareness of own local identity gives us strength and prospects to cognize the global world and not to get lost in it. “It seemed wonderful to me that the apple I showed to all of you is very well expressed and well motivated, strong. And, if we have one very strong leg, then we already have motivation to make the second step. Because, if that apple would be little and insecure, then it means – we are as little as the apple and we would feel unsure about the second, global step, if we would dare to make it at all. But this shows me that we can be sure through cultural identities, through local identities to find the bridges leading to the global world. One more thing we have: we are hospitable, open to wards people from outside, which is very important for this global education. Perhaps, we need to learn also to take, not only to give; if we would learn also to stop, to put on the brakes, to listen, to think, to construct the bridges, then the second foot with the global step would be of the strength.”

How to tell the World?

Agrita Miesniece, the project expert, preschooland primary school specialist at the Unit of General Education Curriculum Development of the National Centre for Education of the Republic of Latvia named the educational institutions of Rezekne Amalgamated Municipality ‘pioneers’, because in the new standard of competence education, which will come into effect in 2016, there will be developed also the policy of global education. The participants of discussion shared their conclusions about the ways, how to explain the modern changing world to the children. Olesja Apine ( Oļesja Apīne ), the principal of Cornaja PEI, finds that it is possible only through a game. “This is what our creative educators do. We have already organized discussions, which the little children like a lot, for example, what do children look like in other places and what do they think about. We have it already done, therefore it is, perhaps, easier for us to integrate into the project on global education.”

Mg. paed Ruta ( Rūta ) Kronberga, the expert, head of the society “Humana People to People in Latvia”, showed puppets that tell the children a story, for example, of African children. “I believe – in order we could develop a sustainable society, we should start from children, we should start easy and nicely.”

The leading expert Inga Belousa emphasized that until now the methodology of global education has been developed only for elementary schools and secondary schools; now we will need to develop it also for primary schools. “What is the most important when we communicate with preschoolers and teachers? We should separate from us nothing; we should not form two camps, what do I do in everyday life, in my local community and how it affects others. If I through away paper, how does that affect others? If I pour out dirt in the river, how does it affect the sea? And how does the pollution affect all world? At the preschool age the children have very powerful imaginations.I sometimes think that we, the teachers, shouls learn from them how ‘to jump about’ the contexts. We should be more open towards the children’s stories, because we can also learn from their stories.”

During the discussion the participants also had an opportunity to cognize the model of the world through a game in order they could understand the reason of migration, inequality, poverty. Ruta Kronberga, the expert, asked the participants divide into groups according to the continents and to divide the chairs as imaginary global monetary resources. The real situation turned out as follows: the most significant amount of free places and resources are in Europe, the least – in Asia, which is a reason of inequality. “What does it tell us about Latvia? It tells that within the global context we have many privileges, opportunities, social guaranties that we should appreciate.”

Global Education – Education about Values

The representatives of Gulbene Amalgamated Municipality shared with their experience regarding the field of GE. Gulbene Amalgamated Municipality involved in the global education project two years ago. The project will end the next year – March 2016, and during this period there have been many valuable conclusions drawn. Since the project funding for the representatives of Gulbene was 300,000 euro, which is three times more than for Rezekne Amalgamated Municipality, it enabled to involve all amalgamated municipality and to implement many social activities, including summer camps, eco-velo competition nature concerthalls, idea laboratories for teachers, discussions. “The main conclusion – the topicality of this theme will never end. Global education – it is education about values for which there is never time in the school curriculum. I’m envious that you are only commencing all that, and start with the preschoolers,” – admitted Anita Birzniece, Deputy Head of the Department of Education, Culture and Sports at the Council of Gulbene Amalgamated Municipality.

To Change Oneself in order to Change the World

At the end of discussion, during ‘the free microphone’, the participants sat close in forming a circle, and, passing a small globe, tried to express their feelings and conclusions they drew with the start of the project:

  • It is not new, but it shall be deepened, broaden.
  • You have the conscience to do it and you shall change.
  • To cognize, to read, to study, to feel with your heart.
  • To cognize oneself and then to cognize the world.
  • We will try to change along with the world.
  • Shoulder to shoulder and friendship – just like we felt today.
  • Travel by your mind, heart and feet.
  • We shall study and keep up with the age.
  • We shall have green, clean and beautiful lifestyle.
  • We shall involve and educate parents of the children, and families more.

“The sailing ship called global education had been set sails today to have a successful trip,” – thus Biruta Rivane (Rīvāne ), the preschool education methodologist at the Educational Department of Rezekne Amalgamated Municipality local government, the poject expert, expressed her conclusion through images. In her turn, Inta Ozolniece, the coordinator of the project, encourage the people rpesent to choose one of three most important mottos, which have been created during the day: “1. The world has changed – let’s talk with children about these changes! 2.The world around us, we – in the world! 3. We cannot change the world, we cange ourselves!” Most of the participants chose the last motto, which proves that the participants want to cognize and changes in order to make the world better.

Anna Rancāne
Eduards Medvedevs