Thinkers and planners for education have agreed on the need for education to serve global citizenship as a potent force in bringing economic, social, and political change, and in enabling the nation to face challenges. This is clearly affirmed through education for human rights and education for global citizenship. 

In the context of Globalization, one can divide the Arab thinkers into five categories, each with a point of view that differs from the other (Altbach, 1999). 

The first category of Arab intellectuals is rejectionists, who believe that globalization, reflects the higher stages of colonialism created by the technological revolution and information that dominates the capitalist market, as governed by the United States and Western countries (Jarrar, 2012). The second category of Arab intellectuals is those who welcome globalization. The third category of Arab intellectuals represents a neutral position, which calls for finding an appropriate form of globalization consistent with the interests and aspirations of the Arab countries. The fourth category of Arab intellectuals represents a positive vision being pragmatic and utilitarian (Muasher & Faour, 2011). They think of globalization as a historical phenomenon that Arab nations should treat with caution and prudence. Globalization emphasizes the sovereignty of Arab intellectuals and establishes the Arab cultural identity in order to spread the values of tolerance. The fifth category of Arab Islamic thinkers rejects any form of globalization, strengthening the Islamic views, maintaining their religion and their beliefs and heritage. Islamists reject authoritarian cultural globalization. Therefore, the world system demands to find the best formula and methods to build a new globalized world based on justice, equity, and care for human rights. 

The importance of this study is manifested by events that have highlighted deteriorating human conditions particularly in what we are witnessing in third world countries including the Arab world, which is facing a lot of setbacks at several levels. The study is important in terms of humanitarian efforts to achieve the global foundations of education, particularly in light of the challenges and changes taking place in the Arab region. As the topic of global citizenship education rises at the political level in the Muslim world, the challenging question that arises is: Is the concept of global citizenship education viable and practical  in the Muslim and Arab world? 

Equality among citizens can be considered as one of the goals of global citizenship, where respecting differences and cultural diversity of people. The awareness of globalization imposes on the citizens of the world an understanding of emerging issues and fosters global responsibility towards the future (Crick, 2000). The contemporary concept of global citizenship suggests the following conditions: The new world order that imposes itself on the global level. The foundations of rationality and legal guarantees of citizenship. Respect for diversity, human rights, and public freedoms. And the commitment to values of tolerance, equality, freedom, democracy and peace, through education. 

Philosophical foundations of global education

The following are some reflections of thought — One may ask oneself: Am I a global citizen? In light of the significant changes taking place in this era of globalization, this is a pertinent question to be posed and needs an unfeigned answer. A global citizen is any person working on the basis that our destiny as human beings is one, and we are all threatened by the negative forces that may destroy the world unless we address them all united as one hand, mind and heart (Butts, 1989). 

Global citizenship in concept is affected by what is nowadays called a ‘global democracy’ —a social and moral basis for humanity. Global citizenship needs a change in the social and cultural environment, or what is called trans-cultural and ethical thinking, including the care for the human environment, philosophically known as eco-humanism. The Development Education Association (DEA) worked on this and introduced the concept of raising global citizenship awareness in schools and educational institutions. Through the development of the curriculum on global citizenship, the DEA provided teachers with a special tailored program called the Initial Teacher Education (ITE) to disseminate the culture of global citizenship. A special declaration named as the ‘Charter for Global Citizenship’ was conceptualized to advance the cause of global citizenship in education. The declaration identified the following eight key stages or phases:

Phase I: The availability of a reasonable degree of political awareness of local, national, and international issues. Phase II: Providing education that ensures understanding the challenges and opportunities of citizenship and global politics. Phase III: To enable a high degree of understanding of the concept of good governance and the role of political power in the democratic system to ensure good governance and global networking. Phase IV: To enable teachers to introduce the students with concepts of globalization through a good understanding of social theories. Phase V: Enabling teachers to a better understanding of political globalization, the role of non-governmental organizations and intergovernmental organizations, promoting sustainable development. Phase VI: Enrolling learners interested in citizenship with specialized courses concerned with studying the impact of globalization on education, the formation and construction of global citizenship curriculum. Phase VII: Enabling educators and teachers interested in global citizenship to reshape global citizenship education. Phase VIII: Encountering learners with experiences of global citizenship education to enable them to plan for a better curriculum. 

After revision, two more phases should be considered when reconsidering planning for global citizenship education: Evaluating the status quo, by working on analyzing the cases of each country from a contextual point of view, considering the degree of maturity and awareness the learners reach. This can be conducted by gathering both learners and educators in organized workshops to discuss all the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges facing the existing or recently implemented global citizenship education. This enables curriculum designers, policymakers, and educators to understand the ground realities and gaps to develop and advance global citizenship based on actual, authentic and empirical assessments and feedback, allowing for meaningful and timely amendments and adjustments in the design (curricula) and implementation (methods/pedagogy) of global citizenship education. 

The study aims finally at contributing to the rebuilding of the Global Education Thought in the Jordanian society, and this is to be taken as an attempt to propose ways of development in the teaching of some university courses to serve the process of shaping a global citizen. 

The study addresses the subject of education for global citizenship, as it tries to address the problem, stating it in the absence of a specialized course taught on the undergraduate level that needs to present the concepts of Universal Education. Therefore a proposal is to be suggested for a matrix for concepts of global citizenship and this is namely the purpose of the study conducted. The study will answer the following questions: How available and adequate are the concepts of global citizenship in Jordanian university courses? What are the methods of teaching the concept of global citizenship in Jordanian university courses? And how do we plan for the future of global citizenship based on sound foundations of global citizenship in Jordanian universities? While the hypotheses of the study is that school education is the basis to move towards a global citizenship in the later stages of education, that a university education delivers material or study courses include the concepts of global citizenship education to promote global citizenship among university students. 

The research is based on analyzing the curriculum educational content in a philosophical way, trying to bring together educational content in terms of knowledge and values (Mabe, 1993) addressing the cognitive aspects covered by certain courses that deal with citizenship at Jordanian universities. Such courses as ‘national citizenship’, ‘politics’, ‘contemporary issues’, and ‘culture and thought’ discuss not only concepts of citizenship, but also practice a value system that has to do with the application and understanding of global citizenship values. The educational research studies the basic concepts of global citizenship, in comparison with the different concepts tackled in the courses of political science, contemporary issues, culture and thought, and national education. By content analysis educational methodology of study plans for those particular courses, educational institutions (such as universities) try to achieve the fundamental goal of building global citizenship values of university students. The research also implements a qualitative analytical descriptive method, which examines the educational thought and the philosophic origins of political education for global citizenship in light of globalization (Phillips, 2000). Whereas in the Jordanian schools the role of teachers of Islamic education and teachers of social and civic education in national education was analyzed (Judith, 2002; Drisko, 1993), along with  a study conducted to compare Arab countries in terms of human rights and their adequacy from the perspective of teachers, mentors, and professionals In Jordanian universities, the following courses were analyzed in terms of content and curricula — Thought and Civilization course, Principles of Political Science course, Contemporary Issues course, and National Education course. At the end of the analysis, some topics for teaching ‘global citizenship’ were suggested to be included in the curriculum. 

Educators should rethink global citizenship from different dimensions and perspectives when intending to develop its educational understanding. So that for good awareness of citizenship, we should consider political ideology, pluralistic culture, the cosmopolitan philosophy, rational communication, social global challenges, environmental and humanitarian issues. Thus, this qualitative research in method represents an attempt, maybe one of its kind in the Arab world, to develop global citizenship education. Arab governments sought to teach students in a way that propels learners to obey them and most likely without discussing the political power. We, in the Arab countries, are having what may be called education on/for citizenship rather than education through citizenship. 

Finally, educators are requested to work on mainstreaming global citizenship through the activation of sustainable development goals (SDGs), particularly through SDG 4.7 (Education for Global Citizenship and Sustainable Development) and SDG 16 (Preserving peace, justice, and strong institutions.) 

Pathways to Mainstream and Advance the Concept of Global Citizenship Education in the Arab World

The importance of this study is manifested by events that have highlighted deteriorating human conditions, particularly in what we are witnessing in third world countries including the Arab world, which is facing a lot of setbacks at several levels.

Pathways to Mainstream and Advance the Concept of Global Citizenship Education in the Arab World

One may ask oneself: Am I a global citizen? In light of the significant changes taking place in this era of globalization, this is a pertinent question to be posed and needs an unfeigned answer.

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This article is featured in the Issue
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Author

References:

  1. Altbach, P. G., & Peterson, P. M. (1999). Higher Education in the 21st Century: Global Challenge and National Response. IIE Research Report No. 29. IIE Books, Institute of International Education, PO Box 371, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701-0371.
  2. Butts, R. F. (1989). The Civic Mission in Educational Reform. Perspectives for the Public and the Profession. Education and Society Series. Hoover Institution Press, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010 (paperback: ISBN-0-8179-8772-X, $22.95; clothbound: ISBN-0-8179-8771-1).
  3. Faour, M., & Muasher, M. (2011). Education for citizenship in the Arab world: Key to the future. Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
  4. Jarrar, A. G. (2012). Global citizenship education in Jordanian universities. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 47, 1922-1926.
  5. Mabe, A. R. (1993). Moral and practical foundations for civic education. The Social Studies, 84(4), 153-157.
  6. Phillips, D. C., Phillips, D. C., & Burbules, N. C. (2000). Postpositivism and educational research. Rowman & Littlefield.
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