Qudwa-PISA Global Competence Forum: Incorporating Local-Global Competence into School Curricula

Qudwa-PISA Global Competence Forum: Incorporating Local-Global Competence into School Curricula

On February 19, the 2022 edition of the biannual Qudwa-PISA Global Competence Forum was held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The event, organised under the patronage of Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in collaboration with the OECD and the Bussola Institute, brought together a diverse panel of international education professionals, decision makers and policy experts. During the day-long event, prominent speakers shared valuable insights and exchanged best practices with the aim of advancing education and preparing the students of today and tomorrow to navigate increasingly complex and interconnected societies.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the interdependence of economies, countries, and continents. The sessions of the 2022 edition reflected this new paradigm by stressing the importance of developing global skills, competences, and values in an ever more globalised world. As Mohamed Khalifa Al Nuaimi, Director of Education Affairs Office at the Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi, puts it: “[…] We have quickly come to realise that the actions of people in one place can not only affect people in other places, but across the planet.

Global Competence in the Light of the Challenges Ahead 

Experts agree that it is essential to equip students and young people with global competence that will ensure they are able to achieve their individual objectives while also taking action for the community in a variety of fields. In a world in which diversity plays a greater part, it is also indispensable to ensure that young people are equipped with the values and skills that will help them to communicate and interact with others coming from fundamentally different cultures and backgrounds. Even though global competence encompasses a skillset that is developed throughout a lifetime, education is key to shaping this lifelong process. Consequently, education systems around the world must adapt to a new world reality and help students to develop such skills, especially in light of the common challenges ahead.  

 “We can educate our young people academically, but we need to teach them how to live with themselves, with other people and with the planet. The one thing we’ve learned from the pandemic is that the future will always surprise us. Climate change will impact us more than this pandemic. And AI [artificial intelligence] will fundamentally change the way we live and work,” Andreas Schleicher, OECD Director for Education and Skills, said during the event. 

During her opening address, Dr Mary McAleese, former President of Ireland, and current chancellor of Trinity College Dublin, also put an emphasis on the importance of tolerance and human fraternity to navigate increasingly diverse societies and stressed the key role of teachers to ensure these values are taught and transmitted to the younger generations. Drawing on the advances made possible by the Abu Dhabi Declaration signed in the Emirati capital by Pope Francis and Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, on 4 February 2019, Dr McAleese reminded the audience of the importance to “ work with one another across cultures and faiths to advance, throughout the world, a peaceful culture, a prosperous culture based on mutual respect, based on shared values and principles” while stressing that the “transcendent virtues of equality, justice, tolerance, goodness, love and mutual understanding [are learnt, taught and caught] from good practice, from good teachers, whether men and women of faith or not.”  

Global Competence in the Classroom 

During the forum, the OECD also presented its latest global competence report entitled “Big picture thinking: How to educate the whole person for an interconnected world”. The report, which was commissioned to be launched at the event, concludes that all education systems need to undertake fundamental changes in their vision and advocates for school curricula that give prominence to local-global competence over memorisation and transmission-based practices. 

The event was held in the UAE, a nation that has successfully endeavoured to put global competence at the core of its education system for the past few years. At a time when many countries are only starting to reflect on how to incorporate global competence into their school curricula, the UAE has already started delivering results and, in this regard, has acted as a forerunner in the field that can support others in their journey towards global competence. 

The day-long event also incorporated an “Experience Sharing” session during which education professionals and experts from around the world shared their insights on global competence in the 21st century, drawing on their own experiences in classrooms and countries that are becoming increasingly culturally and socially diverse. 

Learn more about the work of the Bussola Institute in the field of Education and Work:

Learn more about the Bussola Institute’s Programme “The Values That Bind Us”:

Watch the replay of the event here