Workshop concludes with manifesto on cultural heritage in schools

Sher Alam Shinwari

PESHAWAR: Gohar Ali, head of the Directorate of Curriculum and Teacher Education (DCTE), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while addressing the concluding ceremony of a workshop said that guidelines prepared by the participants of the workshop would be thoroughly reviewed and evaluated for integrating the school curriculum, adding that KP being a multilingual province was gifted with rich cultural diversity and it had already prepared books in Pashto, Hindko, Khowar and Saraiki, while work on Kohistani was underway.

The three-day workshop was organized under the auspices of an Italian agency in collaboration with UNSECO, THAAP and NISDA–Pakistan, concluded at the Area Study Centre, University of Peshawar here on Thursday. The workshop included school teachers, academics, curriculum developers, and tradition bearers from the Swat, Mardan, and Peshawar districts. The participants prepared comprehensive guidelines and a manifesto for integrating cultural heritage, including arts, crafts, oral traditions, folk tales and archeological sites in school curriculum.

Tuaheeda Anjum while presenting the guidelines of the workshop said, “Cultural diversity should be considered strength and a narrative that strives to find unity in diversity should be promoted. Therefore, there is a need to make the students aware of diverse societies and their related social practices that reside within Pakistan. There is also a need for sustained advocacy with the relevant government departments to push for such an agenda. The current document provides five thematic areas to be explored further. It is envisioned that an implementation strategy to actualize these thematic areas shall be developed in subsequent workshops.”

Mehwish Abid, an expert, said that the primary aim of the manifesto of the workshop was to initiate a process of conceiving heritage education as an important part of the teaching and learning processes within schools, adding that it was unanimously agreed upon by the participants that the following steps should be taken by all stakeholders involved in the promotion of the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of the region that included increased support for teachers training across the province through diverse physical and electronic platforms.

She stated that there was a dire need to integrate technological advancements within the pedagogies of the school system, saying that teachers’ training modules should equip school teachers with the necessary pedagogical tools and skills to make use of all the available resources that could be enhanced the interest of the students in studying heritage education materials.

Ayesha Imdad, another expert said, “Connecting cultural heritage and education with livelihood opportunities and keeping in mind the concerns of the people from all income brackets, there is a need to explore the connection between creative and cultural industries and its connection with education. Furthermore, there should be a focus on developing entrepreneurial opportunities for the youth to enhance their interest in cultural heritage by connecting it to utilitarian benefits”.

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