Education and Intergenerational Transmission
UNESCO is mandated to promote education with the overall goal of cultivating peace. One of the current challenges of the Organization is the attainment of the six goals of the Dakar Framework of Action for Education for All and the fulfilment of goal 2 of the Millenium Development Goals, which seeks to ensure universal primary education for all boys and girls.
Education for All means quality education for, first and foremost, those who are excluded from the formal education system. The relevance for indigenous peoples is encapsulated in Goal ii of the Dakar Framework:
ii. ensuring that by 2015 all children, particularly girls, children in difficult circumstances and those belonging to ethnic minorities, have access to and complete, free and compulsory primary education of good quality.
Moreover, Education for All is supported by the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child. Articles 29 (points c and d) and 30 are directly relevant to the education of indigenous children.
UNESCO contributes to the implementation of the Dakar Framework of Action for Education for All and the Convention on the Rights of the Child with specific reference to indigenous peoples in a number of key ways. The organization provides technical support to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. The organization also works with Ministries of Education and education professionals to improve education for indigenous children, young people and adults. UNESCO’s work relates to advocacy and sensitization, the development of culturally and linguistically appropriate pedagogical materials and the monitoring of international instruments in the fields of:
- Human rights education and peace education;
- Intercultural education;
- Education for sustainable development and indigenous knowledge;
- Knowledge transmission;
- Use of indigenous languages as languages of instruction in bilingual or multilingual education.
Moreover, UNESCO works to strengthen intergenerational transmission of local and indigenous knowledge not only by bringing indigenous language and knowledge into school curricula, but also by learning back into the community, thus reaffirming the status of elders as knowledge holders and recognising the value of the knowledge that they hold.
Some of UNESCO’s knowledge transmission projects:
- Mayangna – Boaswas Biosphere Reserve, Nicaragua
- Village-level Documentation and Transmission of Local Environmental Knowledge using online communication tools, Solomon Islands
- Traditional Knowledge of Navigation possessed by Pacific Islands Peoples
- More information on UNESCO’s Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems Programme