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Senin, 14 Desember 2009

Cultural diversity a vital element in Education for All

Drawing on experts, thinkers, practitioners and decision-makers the UNESCO World Report Investing in Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue emphasizes the importance of integrating the diversity of learners’ needs into educational practices.

The education section of the report acknowledges that ‘a one size fits all’ approach to education does not serves learners’ needs and can create huge gaps between what pupils learn and how they live. Education’s role is not only to be a transmitter of knowledge but also of values based on social and cultural factors.

The education chapter includes an examination of the cultural relevance of educational methods and contents; learning societies and the right to education; and participatory learning and intercultural competencies. It reiterates guidelines formulated at the Expert Meeting on Intercultural Education held at UNESCO in 2006.

The guidelines are based on three principles of intercultural education. These stipulate the importance of respecting the cultural identity of learners, providing them with the necessary cultural knowledge, attitudes and skills to fully participate in society and teaching them respect and understanding for all cultures.

The report explores how cultural diversity can play a vital role in achieving Education for All through improving enrolment, retention and achievement and strengthening the connection between formal, non-formal and informal educational frameworks.

Culturally-aware education includes adapted curricula and teacher training, involvement and understanding of local culture, teaching in the local language and respect for difference.

This new approach was prompted by the fact that curricula and learning materials in developing countries were thought to be insufficiently sensitive to the local context and to learners’ socio-cultural circumstances.

The emergent issue of indigenous education also contributed to this shift with a call for locally designed curriculum content, pedagogies and assessment.

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