Taking on a worldwide view

At the website of the Development Education Association, the concepts of citizenship take on a truly worldwide dimension.

The site is for teachers and students at key stages 3 and 4 - though there are links to resources and other sites suitable for younger pupils - and the idea underlying all the materials is that a well-intentioned trawl through "global issues" is not enough. It is also important for classroom activities to explore the many ways in which global factors are involved with seemingly local controversies, such as the status of refugees and the nature of environmental change.

There are links to many good teaching ideas such as Broken Promises - an Oxfam site concerning the failure to provide education for all by the year 2000 - or a site detailing the battle of Seeds for Life, between Indian farmers and multinational biotech companies.

Case studies provide evidence from schools that have led campaigns against the deportation of pupils or have dealt with fear, incomprehension and intolerance following the events of September 11. There are also support materials for larger projects, such as plans for running a MUNGA (Model United Nations General Assembly) or databases for setting up partnerships with schools in countless other countries. The whole site is a training in political and social literacy.


The UNICEF rights website for young people has been developed with the active help of young people themselves.

It is lively, colourful and has immediate appeal. It is structured around the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child - which is explained in plain English - and the responsibilities that go with them. But there is much more than exposition of principles, and the most popular sections are likely to be those which tell true stories, point towards effective action or provide sessions of interactive fun.

The case studies are graphic without being morbid. They illustrate what happens when children's proclaimed entitlements to clean water or safety from HIVAids are either ignored or deliberately denied.

There is also advice on campaigning for those who are stirred into action to try to alter these harsh facts, and links to volunteer projects or to simply write to other children.

The games and quizzes are informative as well as enjoyable. Visitors to the site can explore the difference between "needs" and "wants"; they can find out how to survive with little water but with some tools and much ingenuity; or they can test their understanding of what dangerous or exploitative labour really means.


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