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Project to integrate intangible heritage in education system to start in 4 pilot countries in Asia and the Pacific


© UNESCO Islamabad

© UNESCO Islamabad


A team of experts from Penang, Malaysia, and representatives from education and cultural sectors in Pakistan, Palau, Uzbekistan and Viet Nam concluded the Partners’ Inception Meeting with primary work plans to be put in place in the four pilot countries in the Asia-Pacific Region. These work plans will guide the development of customized guidelines for teachers to use intangible cultural heritage (ICH) in schools to promote sustainable development. The project is supported by the Japanese Funds-in-Trust.

The meeting took place at UNESCO Office in Bangkok from 5 to 7 June 2013. It was the first meeting between representatives of all four countries, from both governmental and non-governmental sectors, international specialists from Penang Arts Education Society, UNESCO Culture Unit, Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Unit, and Asia-Pacific Programme of Educational Innovation for Development (APEID) Unit. The objective of the meeting was to kick start the works under the project “Promoting Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) for Educators to Reinforce Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in the Asia-Pacific Region”.  The project will also contribute to the closure of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014).

At the meeting, the pilot countries’ representatives were encouraged to share their experiences and preliminary research findings relevant to the ICH and ESD in their countries. After two and a half days of intense roundtable discussions and group works, each of the pilot countries came up with a draft work plan and timeline for their pilot site implementation, focusing on the development and application of lesson plans to integrate ICH in various school subjects through a participatory-based approach. The aim of this project is mainly to contribute to sustainable development and awareness for the safeguarding of the priceless folk wisdom.

Through sharing several case studies at the meeting, participants have gained insights about the diverse cultural practices and education systems in each of the four countries. Each country has unique social and cultural characteristics; different guidelines, therefore, must be tailored to serve the needs of different countries.

In closing, this project is an exciting initiative that will explore ways for teachers, communities and students to work together to develop innovative teaching and learning techniques. The real challenge of this project is not only what the national teams will encounter during the next 12 months as they will have to keep in mind the significance of cultural diversity and come up with suitable and effective ways to use ICH in education, but also how to perpetuate these activities for sustainable development. 

Learn more about the ICH-ESD project, please visit: