top of page

2022: The Global Schools Program Year in Review

In 2022, the Global Schools Program achieved many milestones in its mission to support schools and educators in creating a more sustainable world. This year, 470+ schools signed the Global Schools pledge, joining the network committed to integrating sustainable development in school communities. This is the highest year of pledge signatures in Global Schools’ history. Schools that have signed the pledge encompass 1.57M students and 127,000 educators in ~90 countries.

To start out the year, in Honor of International Education Day in January, Global Schools published its first Case Study Guide for Educators featuring the projects and methodologies of education for sustainable development initiatives at 30 partner schools. To date, the publication has received 6,200+ views. In addition, stories on the rebranded Global Schools blog featuring school sustainability ideas and practices have been viewed 19,000+ times.

A major focus of content projects in 2022 was providing materials in additional languages. The lesson plan curriculum was translated into Turkish, Italian, and Russian, increasing the total lesson plans on the website to 720 in 12 languages.

In February, Global Schools celebrated the graduation of educators in the Global Schools Advocates program. The Global Schools Advocates Program provided free training to 327 school teachers and educators at the primary and secondary levels representing 75+ countries. The training enabled the Advocates to promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) through advocacy activities and in their individual lesson plans and by creating whole-of-school strategies to promote transformative education.

In the February 2022 graduating cohort, Global Schools Advocates reached 75,100+ students across the continents in creative and transformative school-wide activities that instill the values of sustainable development. These efforts resulted in the engagement of ~16,000+ additional teachers and school administrators in relevant sustainable development projects, and in the work of Global Schools. Specifically, 8,100+ teachers participated in a training workshop on the SDGs, Global Citizenship, ESD, or another topic led by a Global Schools Advocate. 51,200+ students directly benefited from a classroom lesson taught by Global Schools Advocates with the purpose of increasing sustainable development literacy.

Advocates conducted approximately 7,000 lesson plans and classroom activities on sustainable development. The majority of lesson plans completed spanned SDG 4: Quality Education, SDG 13: Climate Action, SDG 5: Gender Equality, SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being, SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation, SDG 1: No Poverty, and SDG 2: Zero Hunger. All of these activities conducted in and outside of schools additionally involved 30,000+ community members and parents. Out of the Advocates who graduated from the program, 59% of their schools made sustainability a strategic goal/vision due to their role as an Advocate; 62% have improved litter or waste management; 35.4% of schools have set up a curriculum or planning committee on SDGs/ESD; and 52% have integrated ESD/SDGs into staff development for future years to come.

On June 10th and June 11th 2022, the Global Schools Program held a virtual Student Symposium. The symposium was held as an opportunity for talented students worldwide, who are passionate about creating solutions for the SDGs, to present their ideas and projects through creative outputs. Over 200+ participants from around the world joined the Symposium. The two-day high-impact virtual conference connected students with professionals from diverse sustainability careers, who spoke about their professional and personal journey with the SDGs, sustainability, and climate action.

In addition to the Symposium, the Global Schools Program hosted events at the ECOSOC Youth Forum, Stockholm + 50, the AFS Youth Assembly, ICSD, and the High-Level Political Forum. Global Schools was additionally represented at COP27 in Egypt, the SDSN Asia Launch in Malaysia, and the World Travel and Tourism Council Summit in Saudi Arabia. A partnership with the Global Citizenship Foundation allowed Global Schools to offer scholarships for 100 Global Schools teachers to attend the Global Citizenship Foundation's online conference.

Global Schools was also invited to join as a speaker in events hosted by the SDG Academy at the UN Transforming Education Pre-Summit and Summit, in Paris and NYC respectively. Global Schools Advocate, Yaya Dama, participated in the side event hosted by the government of Morocco. At this event, Global Schools partners at the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection launched the new Moroccan Roadmap for Education 2022-2026, referencing the research completed in the Global Schools pilot projects.

As a continuation of the Global Schools research pilots in Ghana, Morocco, and Turkey, the program published and presented a paper at the International Conference on Sustainable Development 2022. Currently, Global Schools is seeking expressions of interest from SDSN Networks that want to engage in innovative research on ESD in curriculum, using the Global Schools country methodology.

In Honor of these major events, Global Schools also published two Activities Guides on Quality Education and Responsible Consumption in honor of the UN Transforming Education Summit and COP. These guides contain approximately 50 pages of activities and background for primary and secondary educators to incorporate SDGs in the classroom.

In October, the Global Schools Program was featured as one of the leading 100 innovations globally in K12 education in the HundrED Global Collection Report 2023. Global Schools was selected out of 3,000+ applications for the 2023 report, passing a rigorous selection and review process led by 188 education experts worldwide. Global Schools received this honor for its impactful and scalable teacher training and research programs, focusing on building educator capacity and developing sustainable development, global citizenship, and 21st-century competencies for students and within school communities.

Currently, Global Schools is completing another cohort of the Global Schools Advocates Program. In July, 300+ teachers received innovative training on ESD pedagogy, and on average, are reaching 40,000+ students monthly with lessons and activities on sustainable development. A full data analysis will be available of this cohort’s activities by February 2022.

70 Mentor Advocates completed the program in 2022, and these expert teachers provided guidance and support to current Advocates in the Global Schools network. A new partnership with the Global Classrooms project under the MDP allowed Mentors to participate in weekly lectures led by sustainable development experts.

In terms of collaborations, the Global Schools Program and SDSN Hong Kong collaborated with the Jockey Club “Sports without Limits” Youth Empowerment Programme to offer free online professional training courses on adapted physical activity. This year, the Programme has consolidated these courses into eight free online professional training courses on Adapted Physical Activity (APA). All courses are taught by experts from the USA, UK, Finland, the Netherlands and Hong Kong. Global Schools also participated as a key network partner in the World’s Largest Lesson’s Transforming Education Survey. This survey asks young students their viewpoints on education, and the outcomes will be published in 2023. Finally, Global Schools was invited to join UNESCO's new ESD-NET 2030 community of practice.

Global Schools is grateful for all the partners, schools, educators, Project Officers, and Advocates that made all of these incredible accomplishments possible. We look forward to an exciting 2023!