01.12.2011 - UNESCO Office in Venice/ MDGFund

Coming soon: ‘The World Heritage in Young Hands Kit’ in Macedonian

©UNESCO/Z. Naskova - Teacher worshop in Struga

The World Heritage in Young Hands Kit is an innovative educational tool that serves to educate and share knowledge about the world’s rich cultural and natural heritage with its youngest inhabitants. Until now, the Kit has been translated into over 30 national languages and has one regional adaptation for the South Pacific. With the support of UNESCO, the Kit will also soon exist in the Macedonian language.

With the goal of creating opportunities for interaction and dialogue for children and youth in schools across the country around themes of shared interest such as our common cultural and natural heritage, the UN Joint Programme “Enhancing Interethnic Community Dialogue and Collaboration” in The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is implementing this UNESCO educational project as an activity in the country’s schools.

Envisioned as an integrated activity where students of different ethnic backgrounds would get to work on projects together and learn to value the diversity of cultural and natural heritage in their country and worldwide, the goal of the activity is to promote tolerance and respect for diversity that will ultimately result in enhanced intercultural sensitivity and inter-ethnic cohesion.

Within the scope of the project and with the partnership of the Ministry of Education together with the Ministry of Culture and UNESCO, the World Heritage in Young Hands (WHYH) Resource Kit for Teachers has been translated and adapted to the national education system by Prof. Aneta Serafimova of the Philosophical faculty of the University Sts. Cyril and Methodius. It is being now piloted in ten select schools representing the diversity of the country; if successful, it will be implemented nationwide.  In parallel, local and international experts are being engaged to develop and implement a professional development program for teachers, so that they can bring world heritage issues into their classrooms with skill and confidence. To this end a workshop was organized in October in Struga, where forty teachers from ten pilot schools from Bitola, Kicevo, Kumanovo, Ohrid, Radovish, Skopje, Stip, Struga, and Strumica worked collaboratively to develop a project implementation plan and local instruction materials. Venka Tadirova, Director of one of the schools, affirms: “We are very thankful for the excellent organization of the training. Our teachers were full of impressions when they came back from Struga and are very keen to start the realization of the project World Heritage in Young Hands”.

The World Heritage in Young Hands Kit uses an interdisciplinary approach that seeks to involve teachers in raising awareness among young people about the importance of World Heritage through the curriculum. Similarly, it strives to incorporate the study of the World’s Heritage in the curriculum as a way to deliver the core subjects and cross-cutting themes in the classroom, such as identity, peace and environment. It aims at fostering creative and participatory teaching methods, involving students in research, data collection and analysis, role-playing and simulation exercises, information and communication technologies, well-planned field trips, and the implementation of conservation campaigns.

But above all, this kit encourages debate and listening to others, resulting in the reaffirmation of identity, while promoting mutual respect and respect for diversity. It also serves as a valuable bridge to bring together young people. The students would visit local sites of natural or cultural heritage and study and preserve examples of intangible culture. The effective use of the Kit in schools should help to build their intercultural communication and team work skills, engaging them in joint work and collaborating across ethnic lines.

The Kit is addressed to educators in the first instance, acknowledging the crucial role teachers play in World Heritage education. It is in partnership with them that the message of the 1972 World Heritage Convention can be best transmitted to millions of young people, who are tomorrow's policy- and decision-makers. It proposes classroom and extra-curricular activities as well as student activity sheets, and provides a series of enlarged photographs of World Heritage sites, a poster, a World Heritage map and stickers to be used for classroom discussions.

This project is implemented within the United Nations Joint Programme to Enhance Inter-Ethnic Community Dialogue and Collaboration in The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, implemented by UNDP, UNESCO and UNICEF with financial support from the Government of Spain under the Millennium Development Goals Achievement Fund (MDG-F).

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