Teachers have their say: Motivation, skills and opportunities to teach education for sustainable development and global citizenship

Report of global teacher survey conducted by Education International and UNESCO

published 24 November 2021 updated 6 July 2022

Teachers have the power to help learners develop the knowledge, skills, values and behaviours to address global challenges and contribute to the building of a more just, peaceful, sustainable world.

However, this global survey of 58,000 teachers, conducted by UNESCO and Education International, shows that while many teachers are motivated, a quarter still do not feel ready to teach themes related to education for sustainable development (ESD) and global citizenship education (GCED).

Teachers feel least confident to teach sustainable consumption and production, vital for the necessary transformation of behaviour needed to start living within our ecological limits. And fewer than 40% of teachers surveyed are confident in teaching about the severity of climate change even though 95% of teachers believe that it is important or very important to teach.

Furthermore, despite recent global attention on the need to confront the history of racism and discrimination, 15% of teachers cannot explain these issues to their students. One in four do not feel ready to teach human rights and gender equality.

Encouragingly, over 90% of those surveyed think issues relating to ESD and GCED were important and over 80% wanted to continue learning about them.

Governments, education policy-makers, academics, educators and teacher trainers need to work together to meet this need, and support teachers to address important global challenges in the classroom.