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Why is global education important in the 21st century and beyond?

Why Global Education is Important in 21st Century

Global education is now more important than ever. The world is facing shared problems such as the COVID19 pandemic and climate change. Higher education institutions have a big role in: 

  • Ensuring students will develop a global mindset through global education.
  • Providing students with accessible education.  

Education Can Lead to Better Opportunities

According to Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Indeed, education has the power to improve a person’s chance to live a better life as well as contribute to building a better world. 

In 2015, the United Nations (UN) launched 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that can help protect the planet and improve people’s lives. Number four on the list of SDGs was Quality Education. According to the UN, education is a key to escape poverty. Global education both as an approach to teaching and as a network or system of educational institutions can equip students with skills to thrive and gain success in their chosen careers in an ever-changing world.

What Is Global Education and Why Is It Important to Students Wherever They Are in the World?

The most famous line from 17th century poet, John Donne, “no man is an island” still rings true today. According to ASCD, an international nonprofit organization, a global education approach enables students to:

  • develop an appreciation for the world
  • opens student’s eyes to the reality that they are part of a bigger system and that they can be an active actor in it
  • exposes students to different cultures and disciplines


Furthermore, a global education approach makes learning active, fun and much engaging. For example, an economics class in the United States can be made interesting through a global approach. Teachers can give students an assignment to find out where their favorite coffee beans come from. Students may be surprised to find out that the beans they brew at home came from Brazil. 

This discovery may spark an interest with the student to study Brazil, its culture, politics, or tourist destinations. The student may also be interested to learn about other top coffee-producing countries such as Colombia and Ethiopia. 

On the other hand, through a global education approach, a student in Brazil may be interested to study the reason why America is one of their top coffee importers. 

Aside from being an approach, global education also refers to the network or system of educational institutions across the world. The global educational system has developed cross border and even transnational partnerships to facilitate learning. Through internet connectivity, students can now “study abroad” while at the comfort of their home through flexible pathway options. 

Global Education Gives Students a Better Understanding of the World

Global education as a teaching approach broadens a student’s perspective and helps them see the bigger picture. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said that learners can become active supporters of social issues if they were taught about it at any age. 

UNESCO identified inequality, poverty and human rights violations as issues that threaten the world’s peace and stability. UNESCO campaigns for global citizenship education to help close the gap.  

Global Education Encourages Students to Take on Challenges Faced by Other Countries

Global education gives students the opportunity to have an active participation in making the world a better place. According to UNESCO, technology progressed in making the world interconnected but inequality, poverty and human rights violations remain. 

Students taught through a global education approach and/ or through a global education system who consider themselves as global citizens are equipped with the mindset to help address social issues and will choose careers to find solutions for social issues. 

Differences in Global Education - 20th Century Vs 21st Century

According to 21st Century Schools, an educational consulting firm, the learning environment is divided into three areas, the Physical, Emotional and Academic environments. The most recognizable difference between the physical learning environment of the 21st century and the 20th century education is online learning. 

The importance of online learning has been highlighted during the wake of COVID-19. Delivery of classes has shifted to online. As for the emotional learning environment, 20th century education lacked the global education approach. 

The 20th century learning environment was much more focused on giving a standard cookie-cutter approach while the 21st century learning environment gives real world problems that makes it relatable to students. Lastly, the academic environment in the 21st century is focused on providing students with a mindset that can further stimulate their learning appetite rather than passive learning where students are taught just by providing facts and figures. 

The world will face more challenges in the future and by having a global mindset, one can find solutions for it. Having access to global education in the 21st century should be every student’s goal. Education is not only a tool to improve one’s self but also the world. 

Read more:

Works Cited:

4 Quality Education. (n.d.). Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved from United Nations Sustainable Development Web site: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/education/

Agriculture, U. S. (2020, December). Coffee: World Markets and Trade. Retrieved from Foreign Agriculture Service Web site: https://apps.fas.usda.gov/psdonline/circulars/coffee.pdf

Ha, T.-H. (2016, June 24). John Donne’s solemn 400-year-old poem against isolationism is resonating today. Retrieved from Quartz Web site: https://qz.com/716088/john-donnes-solemn-400-year-old-poem-against-isolationism-is-resonating-with-brits-today/#:~:text=English%20poet%20John%20Donne%2C%20writing,of%20all%20people%20with%20God.

Is your school or classroom 21st century? (n.d.). Is your school or classroom 21st century? Retrieved from 21st Century Schools: https://www.21stcenturyschools.com/20th-vs-21st-century-classroom.html

Loo, C. (2018, March 18). Top Nine Nelson Mandela Quotes About Education. Retrieved from Borgen Project Web site: https://borgenproject.org/nelson-mandela-quotes-about-education/

MSM Higher Education. (n.d.). Global education and pathway options in the new normal. Retrieved from MSM Higher Education Web site: https://pathways.msmhighered.com/

MSM Higher Education. (n.d.). View from the Forest. Retrieved from MSM Higher Education Web site: https://msmhighered.com/view-from-the-forest/

Quality Education: Why it Matters. (n.d.). Quality Education: Why it Matters. Retrieved from United Nations Sustainable Development Web site: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/4_Why-It-Matters-2020.pdf

Tichnor-Wagner, A. (2018, March 8). Why Global Education Matters. Retrieved from ASDC Web site: https://inservice.ascd.org/why-global-education-matters/
UNESCO. (n.d.). Global citizenship education. Retrieved from UNESCO Web site: https://en.unesco.org/themes/gced


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