Global Education

Teacher resources to encourage a global
perspective across the curriculum


  • Improving teacher skills assists students to learn better at Na Thong school in Laos.
  • Students learn to take shelter under a desk as part of their disaster management preparedness at Wadoi Primary School, Indonesia.
  • Solomon Islands women are receiving better nutrition information to promote healthier diets for themselves and their families.
  • Providing meals at school improves attendance of children at school in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Two female students prepare a salad in a kitchen at the Australia-Pacific Technical College in Fiji.
  • A new house with woven bamboo walls and a tin roof in Papua New Guinea.
  • Students work in groups at Lami Convent, Suva, Fiji.
  • Somali children attend an outdoor classroom at the Friends Primary School in Ifo Refugee Camp, Dadaab, Kenya.
  • An instructor assists two young men to examine an engine.
  • A rugby sports carnival in South Africa builds skills and knowledge of the importance of education and HIV prevention for reducing poverty.
  • Teachers at Makeni Primary School, Sierra Leone, were trained in how to use the integrated peace curriculum activities.
  • Grade 1 students in Sierra Leone singing ‘This is the way we reconcile’ from the Peace Education Kit.
  • Year 8 and 9 students from Makeni Secondary School, Sierra Leone, performing a play they wrote about conflict resolution.
  • Students in Sierra Leone are happier at school and at home after learning peaceful strategies to deal with conflict.
  • Building a culture of peace includes learning about rights and privileges, and putting them into action.
  • New teaching methods and smaller classes, like this one in Pakistan, help children learn.
  • A teacher helps her students in Pakistan.
  • UNICEF’s ‘School in a box’, employed in countries such as Pakistan, contains equipment to make learning more interesting.
  • Play equipment is provided for active learning in Pakistan.
  • Schools are provided with safe, clean toilets in Pakistan.
  • Teachers explain the school program to parents in Pakistan.
  • The ‘Fair play for girls’ campaign in Pakistan helps promote Meena’s message of ‘A girl who plays sport remains healthy and sound’.
  • In Laos, Tao Kim experiences his right to education through having a teacher from his own cultural background.
  • Children collect water from a pump installed at their school, as part of the child-friendly schools initiative in Mozambique.
  • Rachel is helping students like Faaola with their hearing impairments, which assists them to learn and interact with others.
  • Children are engaged in active learning in Mozambique.
  • An Arabic language and Islamic values program improves the quality of basic education of Filipino Muslim children in Mindanao, Philippines.
  • Two young Afghani girls, wearing head scarves, read a book together.
  • A church and school in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, show the influence of settlers from Europe.
  • Norsup Secondary School students enjoy the shade outside school on Malekula Island, Vanuatu.
  • First grade students during class at Norsup Primary School, Vanuatu.
  • Students from Kiriwaneliya Singla School in Sri Lanka use recycled material for counting.
  • Children wait to board a small boat back to Walla Island after attending school on Malakula Island.
  • A close up of a girl writing in her book in a classroom.

Quick facts

  • International Literacy Day, 8 September, focuses attention on the rights of all to an education.
  • The total number of children out of school fell from 106 million to 57 million between 1999 and 2011.
  • Globally, 123 million youth (aged 15 to 24) lack basic reading and writing skills; 61% of them are young women.
  • Some of the poorest countries have made the greatest strides in achieving universal primary education.
  • Children from the poorest households, those living in rural areas and girls are the most likely to be out of school.
  • There is a direct, positive correlation between women’s education and increasing children’s chances of surviving so that they, in turn, become healthier and better educated.


United Nations Millennium Development Goals Report 2013 

Contributors' notes

Contribution guidelines

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The power of education

Imagine not being able to read – you could take the wrong medicine, be sold faulty goods or have your money stolen, and you would have difficulty getting a good job and learning new things. Education or learning, at school or in the community (known as informal education), is one of the most powerful tools for reducing poverty and inequality. Knowledge and skills open up new views about the world and create choices and the confidence to take up opportunities to improve health, nutrition, income, living standards and to participate in decision-making.

The right to at least a primary education is recognised in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the second Millennium Development Goal.

State of the world’s education

Around the world 57 million primary school-age children do not go to school. Even those who do attend school may leave before they reach grade five. Poverty, inequality and culture are the main reasons children do not go to school. Parents may be too poor to buy enough food to keep their children healthy, to pay school fees or buy uniforms and books. Education of girls may be considered unnecessary. Children may be sick or needed at home to care for younger siblings or grandparents, or they may need to work to help the family earn an income. Sometimes schools are too far away or crowded. Students may not understand the language or the importance of what is taught. There may not be enough teachers or those who are available might not be well trained or paid. Sometimes teachers themselves may not be at school because they have to earn a living elsewhere.

Quality education

A quality education requires students to be enrolled and attend school, well-trained and supported teachers, adequate facilities and a relevant curriculum based on recognition of local language and culture. Providing a meal at school encourages attendance.

Education for all

Some of the ways education is being improved are:

  • expanding early childhood care and education
  • providing free and compulsory education of good quality
  • promoting the acquisition of life skills by adolescents and youth
  • increasing adult literacy rates
  • eliminating gender disparities.



Australia’s response

The Australian Government’s overseas aid program supports changes to the systems and policies that deliver better education. It invests in better quality education to:

  • get the foundations right to ensure children are healthy, safe and ready to learn by supporting early childhood development
  • promote learning for all with a special focus on girls, disadvantaged children and those with disability, through teacher training, curriculum development and education infrastructure
  • prioritise skills for growth to enable people to be job-ready and adaptable, by improving access to quality assured technical education and training, which matches the needs of the local private sector
  • innovate for learning and improve education outcomes by working with the private sector and civil society to develop creative solutions to persistent education challenges
  • continue to enable students from our partner countries to undertake tertiary study in Australia, enhance cross-cultural understanding through people-to-people links and build their capacity to contribute to development in their countries.


Australian Aid, Education 

International responses

In recent years there have been a number of conferences and commitments to improve education. The Education for All conference in Jomtien, Thailand, held in 1990, promoted universal education, as does Millennium Development Goal 2. Enrolment in primary education has increased, but achieving universal primary education by 2015 is not on target. In half of the least developed countries, at least two out of five children in primary school drop out before reaching the final year.

The World Bank and education
Global Campaign for Education

Teaching activity

Inclusion and opportunity

New teaching methods and smaller classes, like this one in Pakistan, help children learn.
Students learn about the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They investigate the impact of unequal treatment or discrimination and examine ways of ensuring that everyone’s rights are equally valued and protected.
Read more
Year level: 5-6
Issue: Human rights, Education
Country: Pakistan, Mozambique

Measuring Millennium Development Goals progress

Millennium Development Goals icons for all eight goals
Students use real world data from the Millennium Development Goals targets and indicators to calculate fractions, decimals, percentages and ratios to determine progress.
Read more
Year level: 7-8
Issue: Education, Food security, Health, Poverty reduction, Water and sanitation

Case studies

Building peace in Sierra Leone

Teachers at Makeni Primary School, Sierra Leone, were trained in how to use the integrated peace curriculum activities.
A Peace Education Kit has taught teachers and children in Sierra Leone skills in building peace, helping the whole community to recover from civil war.
Read more

Child-friendly schools in Mozambique

Children are engaged in active learning in Mozambique.
Child-friendly schools create safe and inclusive learning environments for all students, with a particular focus on girls.
Read more

Educating girls in Pakistan

New teaching methods and smaller classes, like this one in Pakistan, help children learn.
Special activities to address the reasons children, especially girls, do not attend school are improving education.
Read more

Empowerment of literacy

Village women develop learning materials in their local language to learn to read and write and overcome their disadvantage, in Timor-Leste.
Empowering women through literacy and education in Timor-Leste benefits the whole community.
Read more

Maternal health in Nepal

A female health worker checks another woman's blood pressure.
A holistic and coordinated approach to maternal health in Nepal has drastically improved the lives of mothers and children.
Read more


Global Campaign for Education

The Global Campaign for Education consists of non-government organisations (NGOs) and teachers' unions from over 150 countries striving to attain universal, quality education. It promotes education as a basic human right, and pressures governments to fulfil their promises to provide free, compulsory and public basic education for all.

Global dimension

The Global Dimension website, funded by the education charity Think Global in the UK, provides access to teaching resources, case studies and background information. Resources can be searched by a number of criteria including learning area, topic, year level and price range. Access is through free registration and you can sign up for a quarterly newsletter.

Improving education in Laos

This video looks at addressing poverty in Laos through education.

This video looks at addressing poverty in Laos through education.

Issue: Human rights, Education
Country: Laos
Video Length: ??

Just Like Me?

International Needs Australia's Just Like Me? is a teaching resource for years 3–6. It uses inquiry sequences and videos of children in rural India, Ghana and Uganda to explore topics such as work, contributions to the family, travel and getting around, housing conditions, income, gender equality, education and water.


Lifelines is a short film with supporting teacher materials which gives a portrait of village life in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. It tells the story of one man's efforts juggling responsibilities and fighting for dream, both for himself and for his community.

Make Poverty History

The Make Poverty History campaign is a coalition of development organisations, faith groups and celebrities who advocate for global change through supporting trade justice, debt forgiveness and improved volumes of aid in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The site contains links to educational resources, videos and publications.

Peace posters

Food security and education improve in peaceful environments. Poster images
Four posters highlight the importance of peace for a strong, healthy and productive life.
Read more
Year level: F-2,3-4,5-6,7-8
Issue: Education, Food security, Peace building
Country: Indonesia, Laos

The World Bank and education

The World Bank helps countries integrate education into national economic strategies and to develop holistic and successful education systems.

Transparency International

Transparency International is a global civil society organisation which raises awareness of the damaging effects of corruption. It works with partners in government, business and civil society to develop and implement effective measures to tackle corruption. The website provides details about corruption by topic and country as well as its publication of the annual corruption perception index.

United Nations Children's Fund

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) helps build a world where the rights of every child are realised, by improving basic health and living conditions and addressing poverty, violence, disease and discrimination.

United Nations Millennium Development Goals

At the 2000 UN Millennium Summit, 189 world leaders from rich and poor countries committed themselves to a set of eight time-bound targets. These Millennium Development Goals focus on reducing poverty and hunger, child mortality and the spread of disease and improving education and gender equality: MDG 1 Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; MDG 2 Achieve universal primary education; MDG 3 Promote gender equality and empower women; MDG 4 Reduce child mortality; MDG 5 Improve maternal health; MDG 6 Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; MDG 7 Ensure environmental sustainability; MDG 8 Develop a global partnership for development.

United Nations Population Fund

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is an international development agency that promotes the rights of all to health and equal opportunity. UNFPA supports countries to reduce poverty, and to ensure safe reproductive health and that every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.

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