The ASPnet International Coordination Unit conducted a survey among ASPnet Teacher Education and Training Institutions (TEIs) in 2019. The aim of the survey was to better understand how many TEIs were still active and where they are located. While TEIs started joining ASPnet in the 1960s, the Global Citizenship Education for Sustainable Development project is the first global initiative targeting them. Therefore, this survey was critically important to learn about the type of training provided (pre-service or in-service or both), for which levels of education they train teachers and how they are connected and collaborate with other ASPnet members in their country and abroad as well as within the wider UNESCO family. Most importantly, we were interested in what the approach and activities of TEIs related to Global Citizenship Education and, more generally, Target 4.7.

We received responses from 46 countries and found that 104 Teacher Education & Training Institutions in 32 countries and from 4 regions were active. We drew interesting insights from the data that informed our conceptualization of this initiative. Firstly, we noticed that the number of TEIs across all regions were relatively evenly distributed, with an average of 25 TEIs per region. Secondly, in every region, TEIs are located in around 7 to 9 countries and that there are a few countries with large numbers of TEIs, such as in Mexico, Argentina, Cuba, Finland, Portugal, the Netherlands, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Senegal, the Philippines, Korea, Myanmar and Japan. Thirdly, through correlating findings with questions, the survey revealed in countries with many TEIs, TEIs collaborate more often with other ASPnet members within their countries. For instance, there are very strong networks amongst TEIs in countries with many TEIs, such as in Finland and Japan.

In terms of the levels of education for which they train teachers for, majority of TEIs – 70% - provide both, pre- and in-service education. Only 17% exclusively provide pre-service and only 13% exclusively provide in-service education and training. The data shows that about two thirds – or 68% - provide courses for several levels of education and around one third – or 32% - provide courses exclusively for one level of education. Further, 46% of TEIs provide courses for pre-primary education and 38% for vocational education. Not surprisingly, those TEIs providing vocational education are also the ones that are highest to exclusively provide for this level of education. This is less so for primary and secondary where 11% and 12% provide exclusively for one level of education.

It was encouraging to note that a lot more TEIs (63%) are collaborating with ASPnet schools within their countries and about 30% noted that they collaborate with ASPnet schools in other countries. We also found that those TEIs that are collaborating at national level were also more likely to collaborate regionally or globally with ASPnet schools. About 79% of TEIs who responded reported to have collaborated with UNESCO and affiliates in one way or another, including National Commissions for UNESCO, World Heritage sites among others.

To frame the question and to take into consideration different understanding of GCED in different countries and regions, we indicated that Global Citizenship Education includes but is not limited to human rights education, peace and non-violence education, international/global education, democracy education, citizenship education, civic education, cultural diversity and tolerance education, interfaith education, gender equality education, moral education, etc.

We also gave some examples of practices we were aware of happening in some TEIs, such as provision of specific courses and coursework on GCED, development of GCED materials/resources, a whole-institution approach to GCED, formulation of GCED-relevant strategic orientations and institutional policies or GCED related campaigns.  Based on the responses we received, we found that 74% of TEIs reported that they have experience working on GCED and 26% indicated to not have worked on GCED. When we looked more closely at the responses by TEIs and what they were doing concretely, we found that they are working in different areas and for different purposes on promoting and implementing GCED and more widely SDG Target 4.7. Main activities we filtered were related to knowledge sharing, knowledge production, advocacy and implementation in policies, curricula, teaching materials and learning environments.

Some examples drawn from the data suffice here:

  • Colleagues at Philippine Normal University are developing GCED Modules for Basic Education and create courses/programs that integrate GCED in teacher education curriculum.
  • Colleagues at the University of Helsinki in Finland indicated that GCED is interwoven in their National Core Curriculum and in their everyday practices both in different subjects as well as in multidisciplinary projects.
  • Colleagues from Miyagi University of Education in Japan reported that they work as part of a network of TEIs in their country to support ASPnet schools from different levels of education on ASPnet's thematic action areas – which are practicaly a reflection of SDG Tagrte 4.7.
  • Colleagues from the Seminar fuer Ausbildung und Fortbildung der Lehrkraefte in Karlsruhe Germany reported to work closely with the federal ministry of education to develop best practice examples for Sustainable Development Education and Global Learning in initial teacher training and in the classroom. They also organise a Global Forum in their TEI offering workshops, for example, on intercultural learning and participate in a project to take on a whole-institution approach to the SDGs. ​

This survey brought to light several excellent things being done in ASPnet TEIs globally. Through the Change Initiative, we hope to build on these efforts through a community of practice, provide TEIs with a space and necessary support to share experiences, best practices and benefit from others. It also provided us with a hook on how to further engage and invigorate commitment by ASPnet TEIs and to reflect on the role of ASPnet TEIs as part of the larger ASPnet community.