Development Education


What is Development Education?

Development Education helps people understand and engage with the social, cultural, political and economic structures which affect our lives and the lives of others.  It is “an educational process aimed at increasing awareness and understanding of the rapidly changing, interdependent and unequal world in which we live” (Irish Aid).

What kinds of themes or topics are addressed in Development Education?

Development Education helps learners to explore development issues such as human rights, gender equality, migration, inequality, poverty, pollution, climate change and fair trade from a local and global perspective.

Why is Development Education important?

We live in an increasingly globalised world.  Decisions and actions taken here have consequences around the world and decisions and actions taken around the world have a direct impact on our own lives.  Adult learners are entitled to understand and know how to engage with the social, economic and political structures that shape their lives and livelihoods. Development Education can help us to understand the roots of global inequality and empower us to work towards a more just world.

How does Development Education fit into Adult Training and Education?

Development Education is not taught as a stand-alone subject – instead, adult education tutors are encouraged to incorporate Development Education into their teaching practice, whatever they are teaching.  While some subjects/modules appear to lend themselves more easily to Development Education, there is scope for Development Education in every topic and every course.  Resources available on this website will help tutors to identify suitable areas in their curriculum.


How can I be a Development Education tutor and a Communications / Maths / Childcare / I.T. tutor at the same time?

You do not need to be a Development Education expert to teach about global issues.  Integrated Development Education content should be defined and confined by the course you are teaching.  In other words, tutors only need to bring in Development Education topics to address the knowledge and skills required by the course you are teaching.

What teaching methods are appropriate for teaching Development Education?

Similar to Adult Education, participative and active teaching and learning methods are very important to Development Education.  Strategies that work particularly well include group discussion, group work, role play, simulation, oral or walking debates, personal reflection.