31.10.2016 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

UNESCO supports the First School Education for Citizenship Week in Burkina Faso

©UNESCO/A. Yonemura

On 24 October 2016, the Ministry of National Education and Literacy, with the support of UNESCO Dakar, opened the first School Week for Citizenship Education at Zinda High School, Ouagadougou. The opening event was held on United Nations Day, which marks the anniversary of the UN Charter coming into force in 1945. The theme of this year's UN Day was focused on concrete actions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Burkina Faso took the initiative to train teachers on the topic of peace and global citizenship education.

The Week’s opening ceremony featured traditional dance troupes of talented youth and children, as well as the reading of the resolution by student representatives to the hundreds of audience members who gathered for the event. A theater group of UNESCO club members also demonstrated how citizenship education is understood and practiced in the daily lives of young people in Burkina Faso.

The mayor of Ouagadougou, Mr. Marin Casimir Ilboudo, welcomed the participants and recalled the importance of responsible citizenship in the behaviour and life of all citizens. Education is one of the best solutions for instilling responsible citizenship, he emphasized.

The representative of parrain (religious leader) Mr. Mogho Naaba Baongo then talked about respectful human relations such as the importance of using simple words of appreciation or apology.

UNESCO Dakar was represented by Education Programme Specialist, Ms. Akemi Yonemura, who commended this initiative. She highlighted its contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and in particular Goal 4 on education and Goal 16 on peace. “Global Citizenship Education (GCED) is one of the UNESCO’s priorities,” she explained, “as it encourages respect for all, fosters a sense of belonging to a common humanity and helps learners to become responsible and active global citizens.” It is in this context that UNESCO has developed tools available to countries which will help policy makers and teachers to rethink and develop new models of living together in peace and prosperity. This includes an ECOWAS reference manual on citizenship education and a culture of peace, and a teacher’s guide on prevention of violent extremism that offers practical advice to teachers faced with this rising issue.

Mr. Jean Martin Coulibaly, Minister for National Education and Literacy of Burkina Faso, reiterated the government's willingness to form a new type of citizen through education. This week is very important in the school calendar, and will be continued in the coming years. He concluded by thanking UNESCO for its technical and financial support before he officially launched the activities of the week.

Mr. Saip Sy, National Programme Officer in Literacy at UNESCO Dakar, conducted a training session for teacher-trainers during the Week. Following this, the training of 200 teachers took place at Koudougou, the third largest city in Burkina Faso, situated 100km from Ouagadougou. The topics included in the training were GCED, a culture of peace, and prevention of violent extremism.

Link to Global Citizenship Education Website http://en.unesco.org/gced

Link to the ECOWAS Reference Manual http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0022/002211/221128e.pdf

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