UNESCO conference to design general history syllabus for African schools (Tripoli, 10-17 June)
UNESCO is working with historians, education specialists and government representatives to develop a history syllabus for African schools. The syllabus will be based on UNESCO’s General History of Africa (GHA), an eight-volume series written from the African perspective, and will be the first such programme designed for the entire continent.
The project will be the focus of the “Regional Conference on the Pedagogical Use of the General History of Africa in African Schools” in Tripoli, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, from 10 to 16 June. The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, will be present at the closing session on 16 June.
“UNESCO’s publication of the General History of Africa, launched in 1964 and completed in 1999, marked a revolution in the recognition of Africa’s cultural heritage,” recalled Ms Bokova. “This conference is part of the next phase of the project, which calls for promoting the General History’s use in African schools. Making this scholarly history accessible and available to students through such educational tools as an atlas and a DVD will ensure that young people all over the continent are able to learn about their common heritage.”
The conference will bring together 150 participants to plan the production of standardized educational materials for use in African schools. Three core components will be developed for primary and secondary schools - a historical atlas, a DVD and training tools for history teachers.
The GHA pedagogical project, overseen by a 10-member Scientific Committee representing the continent’s five sub regions, has received US$2 million in funding from the Government of Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. It aims to enhance history teaching in African Union countries with a view to promoting regional integration.
The conference will define the framework, terms and conditions for the development of the educational materials. In its plenary sessions and workshops, it will examine three documents: a “Conceptual Framework” clarifying the issues; a report on history teaching in Africa based on responses to a UNESCO questionnaire sent to education ministers; and a review of the eight volumes of the General History, suggesting elements for inclusion in pedagogical material.
The GHA pedagogical project reflects the priority given to Africa by UNESCO and is implemented as part of the Second Decade of Education for Africa (2006-2015), which stresses the links between education and culture and the quality of educational content.
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