Promoting respect and tolerance in the classroom

The UNESCO-USA-Brazil “Teaching Respect for All” project (launch date: 18 January) is the latest of several initiatives the Organization carries out to promote learning to live together.

Teaching and learning about human rights is a major aspect of UNESCO’s rights-based work in education. Human rights education creates a “human rights-friendly” environment and helps learners to live by and promote human rights in their daily lives. This new project aims to delevop a curriculum framework for anti-racism and tolerance. In developing this work the Organization will draw upon past and current activities. 

UNESCO carries out human rights education projects, in formal and non-formal settings, on gender equality, violence prevention, ethics education and providing access to education for indigenous people, rural people, child workers, children with disabilities and other marginalized groups. It recently convened the United Nations’ first-ever international consultation to address bullying against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter-sex (LGBTI) students in educational institutions. 

Its 9,000-strong worldwide network of Associated (ASPnet) Schools carries out initiatives such as the Transatlantic Slave Trade Education project to study the causes and consequences of the slave trade and combat racism and discrimination. ASPnet Schools are currently testing an innovative teaching tool on children’s rights in several countries.

As part of the strategy for Priority Africa, UNESCO is carrying out studies on Human Rights and Education for Global Citizenship in 10 African countries. The studies aim at identifying problems related to their implementation and assisting countries in the region in their endeavours to adopt effective strategies, programmes and activities. 

UNESCO has been promoting the World Programme for Human Rights Education (2005-ongoing), in close cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, targeting diverse communities, from students to civil servants to police officers.

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