What you need to know about UNESCO Associated Schools Network

Last update: June 17, 2022

Why was the network created?  

ASPnet was founded in 1953 when UNESCO launched a project called the Scheme of Co-ordinated Experimental Activities in Education for Living in a World Community with the participation of 33 secondary schools in 16 Member States united around the UNESCO founding principle that: ‘Since wars begin in the minds of men and women, it is in the minds of men and women that the defences of peace must be constructed.' The underlying belief of the Network, which has 12,000 member schools worldwide, is that they can work together in support of peace, intercultural dialogue and understanding, sustainable development and quality education. ASPnet works towards Sustainable Development Goal 4 Target 7 by empowering schools to drive innovation for global citizenship, intercultural understanding and sustainability, strengthening international cooperation and collaboration, knowledge sharing and partnerships between countries and schools and building capacity for innovative teaching and participatory learning, particularly through whole-school approaches.  

How does ASPnet work? 

ASPnet is a global network of millions of students, teachers, principals and wider school communities, who are committed to promoting and transmitting UNESCO´s values through education. National Coordinators in 182 countries, designated by UNESCO's National Commissions, are responsible for the national ASP networks. A team at UNESCO Headquarters oversees the network’s international coordination and together with National Coordinators and member schools develops global projects, initiatives, and campaigns. 

ASPnet collaborates with UNESCO’s Regional and Field offices as well as UNESCO networks such as Chairs, Geoparks, Biosphere Reserves and Cultural Heritage Sites, among other partners, to support National Coordinators and ASPnet school communities in their work to foster global citizens for sustainable development. 

What are ASPnet’s goals? 

ASPnet acts as a laboratory of ideas for educational quality, innovation and transformation for Sustainable Development Goal 4 Target 7 and as a driver for evidence-based policy advocacy.  

ASPnet’s 4 main goals:  

1. Schools as laboratories of ideas 

Empowering schools across the world to drive innovation and transformation and to act as living laboratories for global citizenship, intercultural understanding and sustainability. 

2. Global networking and collaboration 

Strengthening international cooperation and collaboration, knowledge sharing and partnerships between countries and schools. 

3. Capacity-building 

Developing institutional and human capacities for innovative teaching and participatory learning, particularly through whole-school approaches. 

4. Communication and advocacy 

Promoting transformative education and whole-school approaches for quality improvement and increasing uptake within and beyond ASPnet, with the wider public and policy-makers. 

What are some examples of its initiatives?

ASPnet brings school communities to the global debate on the Futures of Education initiative, it drives innovation of teacher education, and in particular global citizenship education, initiates global projects such as the Trash Hack campaign for sustainable development and provides a world platform for students to exchange ideas and experiences