- Integrate learners’ intangible cultural heritage into relevant school subjects in Benin, which would then strengthen the intergenerational transmission of cultural values and skills.
Education can play a valuable role in safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, especially today, where the continued transmission of many knowledge systems and practices is under threat in Africa. Modes and methods of transmission that are recognized by communities can be strengthened in education programmes, which can in turn provide new spaces to ensure the transmission of intangible cultural heritage to future generations. Learning for a sustainable future is a key objective of important regional and international development goals, such as SDG 4.7, the African Union’s 2063 Agenda – which calls for ‘an Africa with a strong cultural identity, a common heritage, shared values and ethics’ – and the Education 2030 Framework for Action.
In the context of Benin, UNESCO has already formed a multisectoral team involving the National Institute for Training and Research in Education (INFRE) and the Directorate for Cultural Heritage, Ministry of Culture. The Cultural Charter of Benin affirms that the State shall, inter alia, help the Beninese people to foster innovation, taking into account their own cultural heritage, by harmoniously and dynamically integrating cultural values into formal and non-formal education. This objective consists, essentially, in contextualizing school education based on the social and cultural environment of the learner; in other words, to bring the school closer to the community it is meant to serve.
Pilot project in Benin
As an initial twelve-month pilot project, this initiative is creating lesson plans that integrate intangible cultural heritage at the primary and secondary education levels in school subjects and, as appropriate, is also developing and conducting extra-curricular activities to strengthen transmission of ICH, thereby improving the quality and relevance of the education content in at least one municipality (commune) in Benin on a pilot basis.
Main activities include:
- identifying the intangible cultural heritage of the community hosting the selected schools.
- evaluating educational programmes to define the format for the integration of intangible cultural heritage in education.
- defining and developing sample pedagogical materials and resources to integrate ICH into existing educational content.
- training a critical mass of teachers and resource persons to conduct the activities in the schools.
- monitoring the implementation of the project and evaluating its results.
- capitalizing on and disseminating the achievements of this pilot project.
- Sample pedagogical materials and resources to integrate ICH into existing educational content.
- Teachers and resource persons trained to conduct the activities in the schools.
- Pilot activities developed and implemented in at least one municipality in Benin.
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