The UNESCO Associated Schools Network is the world’s largest school network which consists of 11 700 educational institutions, from preschool education to teacher training schools in 182 countries.
The network was established in 1953 and Finland has been a member since 1959. The Finnish network consists of approximately 60 learning institutions, ranging from kindergartens to University Teacher Training Schools. UNESCO’s ideals and values can be seen in the pedagogical approaches and operational culture of the member institutions.
UNESCO Associated Schools promote the values and principles of the Constitution of UNESCO and the Charter of the United Nations:
- ASPnet contributes to the achievement of Agenda 2030 goals
- All ASPnet members carry out UNESCO’s strategies and programs regarding education, science, culture and communication
- The member schools implement the ASPnet strategy 2014-2021
ASPnet schools develop, test and share innovative educational materials, new teaching and learning approaches based on UNESCO’s core values. ASPnet member schools utilise UNESCO’s teaching materials and exchange ideas and best practices among the ASPnet community.
The UNESCO Associated Schools network provides means to deal with and address current and global questions together with the students. The aim is to increase students’ understanding about the complexity and interconnectedness of the world.
ASPnet strategy for 2014-2021
The main themes for the ASPnet strategy period 2014-2021 are Global Citizenship Education (GCED) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). The ASPnet strategy is based on UNESCO’s Strategy 2014–2021 and supports the strategy’s goal to empower learners to become creative and responsible global citizens.
Objectives of ASPnet strategy for 2014–2021:
- To integrate GCED and ESD into ASPnet school’s curricula
- To experiment innovative approaches on GCED and ESD in ASPnet schools
- To strengthen the sharing of experiences and best practices among ASPnet schools
Global Citizenship Education aims to empower learners of all ages, to become active promoters of more peaceful, tolerant and sustainable societies, both locally and globally. It encourages students to understand the interdependencies between nations and to recognise that problems such as human rights violations, climate change, inequalities and poverty are global problems that should be solved from a global perspective.
Education for Sustainable Development aims to promote the development of knowledge, skills, understanding, values and behaviors that are required to create a more sustainable world. It empowers learners to take informed decisions and responsible actions to ensure environmental protection, promote social equity and encourage economic sustainability. It requires participatory teaching and learning methods that motivate and empower learners to change their behaviour and take action for sustainable development.
ASPnet emphasises the importance of national and international cooperation. Interacting and sharing experiences, knowledge and best practices between ASPnet schools is central in order to widen the impact of their actions.