Education for global citizenship and sustainable development in social science textbooks

This article reviews the state of research and data on relevant content, broadly understood as sustainable development, in social science textbooks worldwide. Specifically, it examines the extent to which these textbooks could help learners to acquire the knowledge, skills and values that are needed to meet goal 4.7 of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals: ‘By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development’. It reviews relevant literature and analyses three cross-national, longitudinal databases containing information that is coded from textbook content to assess the current state of knowledge. In addition to analysing measures concerning the environment and sustainable development, this article also focuses on areas of human rights, global citizenship, gender equality, and multiculturalism/social diversity. We find that textbook discussions of these variables have, in general, steadily increased since the middle of the 20th century. The article concludes by indicating where future research efforts are most needed, identifying geographic and substantive needs, and onsidering monitoring mechanisms that could encourage on-going evaluation and monitoring of textbook content.