Learning with Intangible Heritage for a Sustainable Future: Combining heritage, culture and education as a driver for Sustainable Development


ESD-ICH molluscsHa Noi, 26 March 2015 – Integrating intangible heritage into classrooms all over the Asia-Pacific Region is at the heart of a UNESCO programme targeted at helping educators.

A seminar on how to incorporate intangible heritage and sustainable development into the formal education sector was organized by UNESCO, in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Training of Viet Nam, in Hanoi on 24 and 25 March 2015.

In her opening remarks, Ms. Katherine Muller-Marin, Representative of UNESCO to Viet Nam, expressed that "by integrating culture, heritage and education, we can have a more comprehensive approach to ensure the sustainability of development. If development moves forward without any consideration for culture and heritage, it will not be sustainable. Development without education is not even an option". Ms. Muller-Marin also acknowledged that "the work carried out through this project provides a tool that motivates teachers to work with their communities to learn more about their local culture and to better understand the cultural and social environment to which their students belong".

The seminar was held as part of the UNESCO programme "Promoting intangible cultural heritage for educators to reinforce Education for Sustainable Development in the Asia-Pacific Region", which has been piloted in Pakistan, Palau, Uzbekistan and Viet Nam since 2013. Project partners explored ways to integrate intangible cultural heritage and sustainable development into existing curricula. The project resulted in the development of national guidelines as well as over 100 sample lesson plans. In all four pilot countries, this programme's innovative approach was welcomed enthusiastically by the participating teachers and students.

A synthesis of lessons learned during implementation was produced and launched as the publication Learning with Intangible Heritage for a Sustainable Future: Guidelines for Educators in the Asia-Pacific Region during the seminar.

The Guidelines were designed for upper-elementary and lower secondary school teachers and teacher education institutions. It explores the many ways to develop engaging lessons that bring together local heritage and existing curricula while also raising awareness on the importance of sustainable development. Sample materials and lesson plans are available on the following web platform: http://www.unescobkk.org/culture/ich/ichesd/

During the seminar, more than 60 participants from 13 Asian-Pacific countries discussed opportunities for replicating or adapting this methodology in other countries. Participants also witnessed the integration of intangible heritage into education in practice: participants observed a pilot lesson at Le Quy Don Secondary School and explored the education programme at the Viet Nam Museum of Ethnology. These field visits allowed them to discuss the benefits of the programme's innovative approach with teachers and students directly.

The opening ceremony of the seminar was attended by Vice Minister of Education and Training, Mr. Nguyen Vinh Hien; Vice Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Mrs. Dang Thi Bich Lien; the Secretary General of the National Commission for UNESCO, Mr. Pham Sanh Chau; the Director of the Viet Nam Museum of Ethnology, Mr. Vo Quang Trong; and UNESCO.

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Learning with Intangible Heritage for a Sustainable Future: Combining heritage, culture and education as a driver for Sustainable Development