UNESCO Associated School

On becoming an UNESCO Associated School: Does it help to reduce problems of troubled youths?

Background

UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet) is a network of educational institutions that incorporate the goals and values of UNESCO into their educational, social, and organizational foundation. UNESCO Associated Schools promote "international understanding, peace, intercultural dialogue, sustainable development, and quality education in practice" (UNESCO, 2011). Prospective members go through an initiation process in which the students and faculty members of the institution work together and complete projects that support the above mentioned goals and values of UNESCO. Past research found that working together in project groups not only increased students’ sense of responsibility, teamwork, participation and interest in global development issues, but also helped students exercise social responsibility and experience self-efficacy.

Study design

This longitudinal study aims to expand the scope of research and examine the effects of the UNESCO ASPnet initiation group projects on adolescents and staff members of residential facilities for troubled youths.

Research questions related to troubled youths include:

  • Is there a significant increase in understanding of e.g. human rights?
  • Is there a significant change in attitude towards democracy?
  • Is there a significant increase in perceived self-efficacy?
  • Is there a significant increase in resilience?

Research questions related to faculty members include:

  • How satisfied are the faculty members with the group projects and the initiation process?
  • Is there a significant increase in team cohesion?
  • Is there a significant increase in organizational commitment?

This study follows a residential facility for troubled male youths through the UNESCO ASPnet initiation process. Both quantitative and qualitative data are collected. Approximately 50 male youths and 15 facility members fill out standardized questionnaires every six months. 12 subjects (6 youth, 6 facility members) are interviewed every 12 months.

Project leader

Team

Partner

Wohlfahrtsgesellschaft "Gut Hellberg" GmbH; St. Augustinusheim, Ettlingen (Deutschland)