Educating for a Just and Sustainable World 

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One of the strategic aims of the Centre for Global Education is to research our practice in order ‘to influence debate on the practice of development education by documenting and disseminating learning we acquire through our work’. The Centre also aims to ‘illuminate the links between Ireland and the global South’. 

In fulfilling these aims the Centre carries out research in three specific areas. Firstly, we monitor and evaluate our development education activities both internally and externally to assess the impact of our work on learners. This form of research is carried out internally by the Centre’s staff and externally by independent consultants. Secondly, we commission research on development education practice in specific sectors. Two recent reports in this area include ‘Engaging Returned Development Workers in Development Education’ and ‘Promoting Development Education in Youth Work Training’. These reports aim to strengthen practice in these sectors by identifying the needs of learners and educators. Thirdly, the Centre commissions research on development issues which have a local and global resonance. Recent reports of this nature include ‘Voices from the Global South: A report on Migration’ which examined the experiences of migrants from the global South who have recently settled in Ireland. These reports are available in this section as pdfs.

This report examines the impact of the near decade long war in Syria on Palestinian refugees.  Since 2011, 60 per cent of Palestinian Refugees Syria (PRS) have been displaced at least once, more than 4,000 have been killed and three Palestinian camps in Syria have been destroyed. In the same period, 77,329 Palestinian refugees have been born into highly vulnerable and impoverished communities with the UN reporting 95 per cent of PRS in need of ‘sustained humanitarian assistance’.  29,000 PRS have fled to neighbouring Lebanon where Palestinian Refugees Lebanon (PRL) endure a permanent ‘foreigner’ status without citizenship, property rights and access to nearly 40 occupations.  The report considers the impact of the ongoing Syrian war on PRS and PRL in the context of the current economic upheaval in Lebanon, cuts to the budget of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees and the COVID-19 pandemic.

This research report is based on a visit to Lebanon in June 2018 to assess the living conditions of Palestinian refugees and the impact of their marginalised status within Lebanon.  The report is based upon a visit to three refugee camps in Beirut.

This research report examines the impact and reception of the Centre's flagship project "Policy & Practice: A Development Education Review". It is based on a survey and other research conducted by  Dr Patricia McCann.

This research report is based on a visit to the West Bank in September 2016

Development Education in the Tertiary Sector is a reference guide containing information on courses and modules on development education and development issues. This document is the most complete guide to development studies in the island of Ireland although we recognise that the tertiary sector is constantly changing in terms of new courses coming on stream, existing courses changing their content / structure, and new appointments in academia. However, at the very least, the document provides a baseline from which we can conduct further studies in the future and offers some guidance as to the expanding number of opportunities available to study development issues at tertiary level. The Centre hopes that the document will promote discussion on development education in the tertiary sector and encourage further research initiatives at third level.

In April 2008, the Centre in partnership with the Community Youth Work Team at the Ulster University (Jordanstown), commissioned a practice-based research project with the aim of enhancing development education practice in youth work training.

The research was carried out on our behalf by independent consultants Dare to Stretch and involved qualitative research into the global dimension in the BSc Honours in Community Youth Work at Jordanstown. The research aimed to determine trainee youth workers’ knowledge of, and interest in, global youth work. The research process included the delivery of exemplar seminars on global youth work to demonstrate the effectiveness of development education methodologies in the delivery of youth work training. The research found that an overwhelming majority of research participants believed that ‘a global dimension should be incorporated into professional youth work training at the University of Ulster’. They considered a global dimension to be relevant to both youth work theory and practice so that youth workers can enable ‘young people to critique the wider world’

This research was supported over a two year period by the Department for International Development to monitor and assess how the revised Northern Ireland curriculum is facilitating delivery and enhancing awareness of global education in schools. The research employed qualitative and quantitative research methods and focused on teachers, student teachers and pupils. The research objectives were to:

  • Identify organizational strategies employed by schools and teaching strategies and resources perceived as beneficial for learning about global issues;
  • Explore teachers’, student teachers’ and pupils’ understandings of the global dimension and their attitudes to related issues.
  • Investigate the extent to which pupils learn about issues related to the global dimension in schools and to compare this to their attitudes and reported activist behaviours.

In April 2009, the Centre received funding from the Department for International Development (DFID) to commission and manage a research-based project that aimed to investigate and analyse our increasingly diverse society through a series of case studies. The case studies presented biographical profiles of individuals that reflect the increasing diversity of our society arising from inward migration. The case studies focused on three specific groups: first generation migrants; second generation migrants; and refugees. The first generation migrants were sub-divided between economic migrants and students and / or family members. Refugees included asylum-seekers who have made claims for refugee status.

The research identified some of the challenges confronted by individuals who have come to live in the north of Ireland from other societies in Europe and the global South such as racism, accessing public services and adjusting to local cultures and lifestyles. While individual case studies can not reflect the life experiences of an entire community or ethnic group living in the north of Ireland they can collectively provide us with an informative and insightful perspective on life for migrants in our society.

In 2011, the Centre published a new research study titled ‘Engaging Returned Development Workers in Development Education’. The aim of the study was ‘to commission a mapping and consultation exercise designed to engage Returned Development Workers (RDWs) in global education’. The project was delivered in partnership with Comhlámh, the association of returned development workers, and involved the following: first, the compilation of a comprehensive database of RDWs in Northern Ireland; second, consultation with this constituency through qualitative and quantitative research methods.

Consultation with the sector included interviews, focus groups and questionnaire surveys to identify the needs of RDWs in respect to issues like post-placement employment and personal development, networking with other RDWs, getting involved in global education and sharing skills, knowledge and expertise. 

The Centre for Global Education would like to thank Dr Seán Byers, Queen’s University Belfast, for carrying out this review of our bi-annual journal Policy and Practice: A Development Education Review. Dr Byers brought rigour, professionalism and clarity to his review which provides a most useful assessment of the journal’s standing in the development education sector in the island of Ireland and in a wider, global context.

Policy and Practice is a peer reviewed, bi-annual, open access journal published by the Centre for Global Education, a development organisation based in Belfast. First published in 2005, Policy and Practice aims to provide a space for global education practitioners to critically reflect on their practice and debate new policy developments.  The journal aims to share research findings, update academics and practitioners on policy developments, celebrate and promote existing good practice in global education, inform the work of practitioners in development education and related adjectival education organisations and to promote global education within the statutory education sector in Ireland.

This article has been published as part of a one year development education project delivered by the Centre for Global Education and funded by Trócaire. It aims to support reflection and debate on how development educators engage the public on international development issues. The article comes on the back of recent research, most notably Oxfam’s Finding Frames report, which suggests that the development sector is struggling to enhance and sustain citizenship engagement on the structural causes of poverty and inequality. The article probes some of the factors that may underpin this lack of engagement both within the development education sector specifically and the wider development 
sector more generally. It examines some of the challenges involved in engaging learners in actions on global issues. Some of these challenges relate to the sectors and environmental pressures in which development educators operate which can thwart in-depth engagement with learners.