Early this year 2019, our Africa Unite School Club partnered up with the United Nations Education, Science and Culture, Mahatma Ghandi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (UNESCO MGIEP) to launch 2 programmes in South African High schools in the Western Cape: Digital Intercultural Exchange (DICE) phase III and the Global Citizenship – Libre Program.
Both programs have been initiated by UNESCO MGIEP to educate learners around the globe on Emotional Intelligence through Social Emotional Learning; which is essentially the “whole brain approach”. The above approach stresses learners to be more empathetic and motivates them to always put themselves in another person’s shoes before acting – hence developing social competencies.
Currently, the programs have been launched in the following 7 countries; Malaysia, Norway, United States, India, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and South Africa. In South Africa, Africa Unite was chosen to lead and coordinate the implementations of these two programs. Therefore, as Africa Unite, we selected 7 Schools to be part of the programs in the Western Cape province. Namely, Bellville Technical High School, Curro High School, Elsies River High School, Gardens Commercial School, Hector Peterson High School, The Leadership College, and Masibambane Secondary School.
In April 2019, Africa Unite School Club’s Coordinator was invited together with 10 of our teachers from the above schools to New Delhi India by UNESCO MGIEP. The purpose of the trip was for the teachers including others from Sri Lanka, Bhutan and India to take part in a training on Social Emotional Learning and implementation of the DICE III and Libre program. The workshop was held at the Lalit Hotel in New Dehli- India, from the 14th -18th of April
Furthermore, our teachers were introduced to the EMC2 pillars which are Empathy, Mindfulness, Compassion and Critical Inquiry. These are pillars which are at the heart of these programs.
Throughout, the workshop, all the teachers agreed that the current school curriculum is more focused on sciences and mathematics and forgets a very critical aspects of development of the child which is based on the left side of the brain. This also justifies why there is so much violence in our communities which is mostly perpetrated by the youth. Thus, stressing how teachers need to start applying empathy, mindfulness, and compassion themselves, because it is critical to understand the learner first before attempting to teach them the relevant subjects.
During the workshop the teachers discussed some of the global social-political issues such as migration, global citizenship and gender equality in relation to their own context i.e. This further created an exchange between the teachers themselves, as they were sharing experiences from their schools and communities. In the universal context of migration, the UNESCO MGEIP shared how today we have around 244 million migrants across the globe, thus stressing the need for social cohesion activities.
Our South African team elaborated on the current situation on migration, characterised by Xenophobic and Afrophobic violent acts which have been sprouting around the country. These acts show how we need to educate learners and others on global citizenship. This will equip learners with the right kind of skills and knowledge on human rights, diversity and inclusivity to avoid such outbreaks.
Overall, the workshop was very informative, it did not only equip the teachers with the skills to navigate the digital Chi platform which the programs will run on, but further created a platform for other burning issues to be addressed.
The teachers were very thankful for the opportunity Africa Unite and UNESCO gave them and they are looking forward to the implementation of the program in their respective schools.
For more information visit UNESCO MGIEP at http://mgiep.unesco.org/article/joining-hands-for-global-citizenship-education-fostering-social-and-emotional-learning