What is the Global Learning Programme?

The Global Learning Programme (GLP) strengthens the capacity of primary, post-primary and special schools in Northern Ireland to bring global learning into their classrooms. Participating schools are provided with teacher training, resources and guidance grounded in the NI Curriculum.

Each participating school nominates a teacher to lead on global learning. Initially, the programme is focused on delivering global learning within a given topic, but schools can chose to continue their journey and begin work towards embedding global learning using a whole school approach. Support is provided throughout the programme and schools are rewarded for their achievements with Global Learning Certificates.

Launched in early 2015, the programme is managed by the Centre for Global Education and funded by the UK government. By the start of December 2017, the GLP had already provided global learning support to 50% of all schools in Northern Ireland. Case studies of global learning practice in participating schools can be found here. Similar Global Learning Programmes are also ongoing in EnglandScotland and Wales.    

What is global learning?

Global learning is essentially education for a fair and sustainable world. In other words, a world free of poverty where all human beings are treated with respect and dignity and where individuals, communities, businesses and countries behave in a way that meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations. Key global learning concepts include poverty, global inequality, social justice, sustainable development and global interdependence.

Global learning helps pupils make sense of the increasingly globalised, complex and rapidly changing world in which they live. It enables pupils to think critically about world issues and to develop an awareness of the impact our own actions can have on others.  A holistic approach to global learning equips young people with the essential knowledge, skills, attitudes and dispositions that will enable them to realise their potential and make a positive contribution to our world.

Why global learning?

Studies have shown pupils have a great interest in learning about the world around them. A 2009 survey by Ipsos MORI revealed that 92% of young people thought it was important to learn where the things they use, such as food, energy and water, come from. Another piece of research, published by the Centre for Global Education in 2010, highlighted the desire of Northern Irish pupils to learn more about global issues, as well as their willingness to engage actively in change to make the world a better place.

Ongoing research is being conducted into the GLP, which shows the positive impact global learning can have on schools. Read more about this here.

How does the GLP support the NI curriculum?

The Global Learning Programme is not an add-on to the curriculum, but rather provides an important lens through which to explore and enhance the existing curriculum strands, topics and skills. Global learning can be incorporated into any subject/topic taught within the classroom. For example, in maths lessons pupils can examine statistics on global inequality, while in music they can explore songs about injustice from around the world. 

The programme helps schools meet existing curriculum requirements, promotes connected learning, and strengthens the quality of teaching within areas such as Personal Development and Mutual Understanding (PDMU), The World Around Us, Local and Global Citizenship, and the Key Elements. Additionally, the GLP complements other initiatives and award schemes, such as Eco-Schools, Fairtrade Schools, International Schools and Rights Respecting Schools.

See this page for examples of how global learning resources can be used at primary level to meet requirements and this page for some post-primary examples. Ultimately, the aim of the GLP is to ensure pupils leave school ready to contribute to developing a fair and sustainable world.

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