Auckland teenager stresses global citizenship in education

Scarlett Parkes from Auckland Girls' Grammar wants to see less competition in schools.
KYMBERLEE FERNANDES/FAIRFAX NZ

Scarlett Parkes from Auckland Girls' Grammar wants to see less competition in schools.

South Auckland teenager Scarlett Parkes says it was a "huge responsibility" to be the only student representative from New Zealand and Oceania at a recent UNESCO forum.

She worked alongside students from 10 other countries to spread awareness about global citizenship in education at the forum, which was held in Ottawa, Canada.

"Global citizenship to me is a framework for being a good person," Parkes said.

"People try and make a change in a lot of different ways. Global citizenship is one that I have decided is the most effective, valuable and ethical way of making a change."

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At the Third UNESCO Forum on Global Citizenship Education, Scarlett from Auckland Girls' Grammar School co-wrote and presented an International Youth White Paper on Global Citizenship.

The other student reps who co-wrote the paper were from Canada, Brazil, Morocco, Philippines, Sweden, Kenya, Slovenia, Haiti, Palestine, the United States.

The week-long trip was funded by the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO.

The paper shines a light on basic human rights, equality and justice in today's world.

The deputy head girl won an award for global citizenship at her school last year.

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She's trying to relay that thought on the residents of Auckland.

"It's sad that people don't support diversity in Auckland. A lot of people talk about diversity in a tokenistic way, which is a problem," she says.

Scarlett is of the opinion that everyone in a society must have equal say in decisions that affect them.

"The fact of the matter is the world is diverse, and if we can't deal with it, we can't deal with the world," she says.

"We're not always going to agree on everything. Global citizenship allows for difference of opinion."

She highlights a few points where global citizenship needs to be incorporated in New Zealand education.

"We want more critical thinking, new school structures that allow for understanding complexity and diversity," she asserts.

"I'd love to see less competition within school systems," she says noting that education should promote collaborative learning.

The year 13 student says she would like to work on integrating global citizenship in education in New Zealand.

Another issue she feels strongly about is "climate change".

She says New Zealand is "doing very badly" in terms of climate change.

"We're not setting strict enough targets. I definitely want to work on that," she says.

 - Stuff

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