The central principle of globalization is that all of us have become the word’s citizens. Whether true or false, the topic of global citizenship has been of great disputes. On the other hand, these taking part in the debate, concur that a global citizen is a member of the wider community of humanity, which is wider than that of the a nation-state. The global citizen concept is very closely connected to the international dimensions. This academic essay analyses and synthesizes different explanations of global citizenship hence establishing the key elements of responsible global citizenship. Basing on the synthesize of the key elements of global citizenship, the essay evaluates education which is the specific discipline agent is fulfilling the role of global citizenship.
Different Expiations of Global Citizenship
Global citizenship can be implied to the whole world to bring world peace and citizenship concept to a global level and is strongly linked to the concept of globalization and cosmopolitanism. Though world citizenship is a related term but can be distinguished from global citizenship, though at times they can be merged.
The global citizen can be defined as moral and ethical disposition that guide the understanding of individuals local and global groups’ context, and make them reminded of their relative responsibility in the various communities. According to various accounts citizenship is motivated by local interests, global interest and the concern for other human beings, rights and dignity. The main tenets of global citizenship includes; respect for all fellow global citizens, no matter the race or religion or rise to a universal sympathy beyond barriers of nationality as explained by Hans, S. (2008).
The term world citizen, can be understood better when defined negatively. If a state citizen with political frontiers, is under expectation of paying allegiance to the state government to which she belongs, and is expected also to take arms against aliens who invades the territory of the state, a world citizen recognize the whole world as his state and in principle do not recognize his own species as an alien to the world community to which he belongs. Such like individual recognizes the earth as one’s mother that is sustaining, the laws that are innate inviolable of nature as the father that is protecting an individual. The entire sentient beings one recognizes them as his home.
Based on these the world allegiance is rooted on truth, knowledge and values.
Key Elements of global citizenship
As listed in earlier the key elements of global citizenship are knowledge and understanding, skills, and values and attitudes; these are the major contributors in creating a good global citizen. Each of these key elements has their different levels/stages that they are taught to individuals as described by Heater, (1999). These stages include the foundation stage, stage 1 (age 5-7), stage 2 (age 7-11), stage 3 (age 11-14), stage 4 (age 14-16), and age 16-19. In knowledge the elements involved include social justice and equity, diversity, globalization and independence, sustainable development, and peace and conflict (Parekh, 2003).
Heater, (1999) continues to state that in skills the elements involved include; critical thinking, ability to argue effectively, ability to challenge injustices and inequalities, respect for people and things, and cooperation and conflict resolution. For values and attitudes the element involves; sense of identity and self esteem, empathy, commitment to social justice and equity, value and respect for diversity, concern for the environment and commitment to sustainable development, and belief that people can make a difference.
To know about social justice and equity demands a good global citizen t know about fairness, right and wrong, rich and poor, be able to know fairness within groups, the causes and effects of equity, inequality in the society, the rights and responsibilities of each person, poverty its causes and eradication, and the roles of the citizen as argued by Iyer, (2000).
In Iyer, (2000) for a good global citizen he/she must be able to identify with different cultures values and beliefs, eliminate discrimination at all costs, and understand different people’s culture, likes and dislikes. In globalization and independence the citizen must know different environment and places, the links between different areas, be aware of interdependence, political, economic and ethical systems and their complexity.
To sustain the world citizens must know living things, environment, people, resources, and how to sustain them both locally and globally as given by Heater, (1999). Being aware of the past, present and future will help identify concepts, issues, lifestyles, and systems to sustain. Peace and conflict will ensure that the citizen knows how to stay at peace with self, neighbors, and entire world without conflicts.
Skills that the global citizen needs will include; critical thinking where the citizen must be able to listen to others, have different viewpoints and assess all situations critically, be able to make ethical judgments, and be able to handle contentious and complex issues (Iyer, 2000). In the ability to argue effectively he/she must be able to express his/her views, opinions, reasoning, rationale, and arguments in either politics, economics, geographically, or socially.
The ability to challenge injustice and inequalities enables the citizen to identify, challenge, and campaign against unfairness, injustices, and inequalities. Respect for people and things enables the citizen being responsive to others, have responsibility for resources and things, and living a sustainable life that does not hurt others. Cooperation and conflict resolution will help the citizen in sharing, diplomacy, team working, compromising, negotiating, mediating, and negotiation in any conflict.
Heater, (1999) argues that the part of values and attitudes the citizen must identify himself and be proud, open minded and have self worth. In empathy and sense of common humanity he must be sensitive and show concern to the neighbors, be compassionate and sensitive to the rights and needs of others, be sensitive to humanity, and have collective responsibility in helping others. Commitment to social justice and equity will ensure citizens are fair, have personal indignation, committed to social justice, be activists against inequality, have knowledge of events and occurrences and be willing to speak to others.
Value and respect for diversity ensure that the citizen respects changes, diversity and differences, sees others as equal despite of race, ethnicity, or culture, values and respects others decisions, views, and actions, and is willing to learn from others and from experience (Tatum, 1992). A good global citizen must also show concern for the environment and be committed to sustainable development through appreciating and being concerned with the environment, protect the environment for future generations, and value be responsible in environment management and sustainable development (Heater, 1999). Finally the citizen must belief that people can make a difference by admitting and learning from mistakes, getting ready for the consequences of our actions, being cooperative and participative, be willing to work toward an equitable and sustainable future, and believing that individuals are there to make a difference for a better world.
The key aspects developed ensure that the citizen is acquitted with the basic skill of making a better globe and make him better to live among other people despite their ethnicity, race, nationality, and culture (Heater, 1999). The best part is where the citizen becomes loyal to the globe and lives perfectly in harmony with all individual. These key elements also aim at creating a co-existing spirit which creates peace that is essential for growth and development.
Education provides learning opportunities offered in a range on context both in and out of school to enable the development of informed world citizens, with the skills of inquiry and communication, participation and research. This enables young people to rise to the challenges that they face in becoming global citizens.
When writing about the practices of global citizenship Hans, S. (2008), explained that education provides young people with the opportunity to develop critical thinking about complex global issues in the safe space of classroom. These thinking are vital for the children of all ages for them to come face to face to the controversial issues of this time via media and modern communication technologies. Education encourages students to explore, express and develop their own values and opinions, while listening and respecting the views of others.
The scope of education is wider than the single scheme of subject or work. It is more than international scale in citizenship, it is important in all areas of curriculum, all capabilities and all range of age. It encompasses the school as a whole, for its perspective on world shared within the institution and explicit not only what is learnt in classrooms but in the ethos of the school. It is apparent in the process of making decisions, management estate, purchasing policies among others.
Generally, education recommends knowledge, values, skills and attitudes which are essential in becoming the global citizen. May ideas education promotes, are reflected in what teachers might know as malt-cultural, anti-racists, environmental education.
A perfect and ideal situation of a good citizen is hard to come by, but creating a responsible citizen can make the globe a better place where people are concerned about their neighbors and their welfare rather than accumulating wealth through illegal means. The key elements of global citizenship help in creating a better world through teaching individual the positive influences in life, these should be taught when individuals are young since they can accept the values and help change the world to a better place. Education can also help the system in instilling proper skills, values, and attitudes of being a global citizen to individuals who will ensure a holistic approach to all issues of the globe.