Background

© UNESCO/P.Lagès

The rise of knowledge-based societies has made us realize the importance of sharing and building knowledge for the development of modern societies. These same societies are increasingly demanding creative, innovative, and adaptable workforces that can address and respond to constantly changing global challenges such as major environmental changes, rapid technological development.

Facing these fundamental requirements of the 21st century, it has also become crucial to adopt our awareness and knowledge with shifting conditions of socio-cultural changes, particularly in acknowledging the diversity of cultures in today’s multicultural societies. In this regard, education and learning are asked to play a fundamental role in nurturing a creative environment.

At the thirtieth session of the UNESCO General Conference in Paris in November 1999, the Director-General of UNESCO launched an International Appeal for the Promotion of Arts Education and Creativity at School, which started off a series of actions and programmes to strengthen the awareness of the important role of creativity and art disciplines in enhancing education teaching of children and teenagers.

Another foundation of UNESCO’s Arts Education programme was the World Conference on Education for All and the report Education: the treasure within, prepared in 1996 by the International Commission on Education for the 21st Century under the direction of Jacques Delors and under the aegis of UNESCO. This report, which emphasises the urgent need for reform and reinforcement in school systems - especially primary education in developing countries, stresses the importance of education through art and creativity.

Quote "anticipate the new needs by according a special place to the teaching of artistic values and subjects in order to encourage creativity, which is a distinctive attribute of the human species. Creativity is our hope."

Nobody can deny that education is the tool by excellence that opens the way to development. However bearing in mind the global challenges with which we are confronted as well as the diversity of viewpoints, cultures and situations that we should accept in modern societies, the effectiveness of education anchored in the traditional objectives such as pure transmission of knowledge is being further challenged. In this light, UNESCO acknowledges the importance of creativity and the arts as well as the learning of arts and creativity to be indispensable for the growth and sustainable development of societies and of individuals.

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