- In an effort to ensure that African youth learn about their common heritage, the UN, historians, education specialists and governments are now developing a history syllabus for schools across the continent.
The new syllabus is to be based on the book entitled "General History of Africa", an eight-volume series written from the African perspective and published by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). It will be the first such programme designed for an entire continent.
The project is to be discussed at a seven-day conference organised by UNESCO and dubbed "Regional Conference on the Pedagogical Use of the General History of Africa in African Schools" that began today in the Libyan capital, Tripoli.
"UNESCO's publication of the General History of Africa, launched in 1964 and completed in 1999, marked a revolution in the recognition of Africa's cultural heritage," said the leader of the UN agency Irina Bokova.
"This conference is part of the next phase of the project, which calls for promoting the General History's use in African schools. Making this scholarly history accessible and available to students through such educational tools as an atlas and a DVD will ensure that young people all over the continent are able to learn about their common heritage," said Ms Bokova.
The conference brings together 150 participants to plan the production of standardised educational materials for use in African schools. Three core components are set to be developed for primary and secondary schools – a historical atlas, a DVD and training tools for history teachers.
The Tripoli conference further is to define the framework, terms and conditions for the development of the educational materials.
The "General History of Africa" pedagogical project, overseen by a 10-member scientific committee representing the continent's five sub-regions, has received US$ 2 million in funding from Libya. It aims to enhance history teaching in African Union (AU) countries with a view to promoting regional integration.
"The GHA pedagogical project reflects the priority given to Africa by UNESCO and is implemented as part of the Second Decade of Education for Africa (2006-2015), which stresses the links between education and culture and the quality of educational content," the agency said in a statement.
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