Successful conclusion of the UNITWIN Course Politics4Future

Imagine what happens when six UNESCO Chairs from six universities in five countries with different cultural contexts come together to collectively envision, design and implement an online course. This is what happened between June 2022 and June 2023.

In 2021, a UNESCO UNITWIN global cooperation network on Education for Sustainable Development and Social Transformation was formed, with the purpose of strengthening the role of quality education in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through research, policy development and implementation of ESD with a focus on teacher education. (Learn more about this UNITWIN Network here).

UNITWIN partner universities: Leuphana University (Germany); Heidelberg Pedagogical University (Germany), York University (Canada); Rhodes University (South Africa); University of Crete (Greece) and Earth Charter Center for ESD at the University for Peace (Costa Rica).

To help concretize this partnership, an opportunity arose to design and implement a course. In this sense, our first joint project was the online course called: “Politics4Futures: Infusing Sustainability and Global Citizenship into Education course”. Developing this project has been a great opportunity to learn from each other and generate strong relations.

Course objectives:

  • Develop common understanding of key concepts of GCED, ESD and political education and their interconnections
  • Foster awareness on individual and collective worldviews regarding global citizenship, sustainability and political engagement
  • Develop abilities to implement key concepts of GCED, ESD and political education into teaching practices
  • Enhance their capacities as agents for transformative change.

The target group were pre-service educators, meaning undergraduate students studying to become teachers in the partner universities. In this first pilot phase, there were 76 participants from the six partner universities, except for Costa Rica, because the University for Peace doesn’t have undergraduate students, therefore, 10 students from the National University of Costa Rica were invited to participate in this course.

We envisioned this as a great extra opportunity to offer students to learn and interact with students living and studying in different contexts.

Planning of this course started in June 2022, design and development during the second semester of 2022. Between February and June 2023, the course was implemented in a pilot phase.

The course was delivered using asynchronous and live sessions. The course content is divided into 7 Modules, in each module, students interacted in asynchronous forums and delivered individual reflection essays. In addition, there were 7 live sessions (Common Learning Sessions) between 11 April and 13 June. These common learning sessions were very important for the course, as it gave the opportunity for participants to interact in real time and learn from each other, so dialogue spaces were opened for this to happen.

We are now in the process of reflecting how did this pilot course go, what can we improve and define what to do next, and how to make this course available for students from other countries.

This project was coordinated by Leuphana University and funded by DBU (Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt).