to correct erroneous collective representations and to encourage better understanding, the project “Toolkit on revision/adaptation of curricula, school textbooks and other learning materials to remove cultural, religious and gender-biased stereotypes” was launched in 2012. It includes several components, among which a policy meeting gathering 22 experts. It was organized by the Division of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development of the UNESCO Education Sector at UNESCO Headquarters, from 24-25 September 2012. The overall objective of the project is to promote quality education and the use of textbooks and learning materials as tools for transmitting values and skills that are essential to building and maintaining peace by removing cultural, religious and gender biased stereotypes.
In particular, the meeting aimed at:
– revising two sets of UNESCO materials: a comprehensive strategy for textbooks and learning materials' publication and the Draft Action Plan;
– designing the outlines and format of a practical tool for writing textbooks and learning materials.
This initiative is aligned with the Guidebook for History Textbook Authors – entitled “On a Common Path – New Approaches to Writing History Textbooks in Europe and the Arab and Islamic Worlds: The case of the Mediterranean” coordinated by the Cairo UNESCO Office stated in 2010. This booklet, designed to address misconceptions and misinterpretations on “The Image of Arab-Islamic Culture in European Textbooks and of European Culture in Arab textbooks”, provides advice on the best methodologies concerning cultural and religious issues, references and sources of information, illustrated by examples of good practices, including all relevant existing studies on the topic.
Training tool for writing quality textbooks with three modules on diversity regarding culture, religion and gender
The project “Toolkit on revision/adaptation of curricula, school textbooks and other learning materials to remove cultural, religious and gender biased stereotypes” aimed at assisting Member States in developing quality textbooks and learning resources where diversity is embraced. The implementation of the project led to the production of a three-language toolkit containing the following set of materials:
- Annotated Bibliography on Textbook Development
- UNESCO Guidebook on textbook research and textbook revision publication
- Training tool for writing quality textbooks with three modules on diversity regarding culture, religion and gender
- Textbooks and Learning Resources: A Global Framework for Policy Development - Textbooks and Learning Resources: Guidelines for Developers and Users
- Promoting gender equality through textbooks: a methodological guide publication.
The training tool is designed for actors involved in textbook production, from design to use. First, it helps textbook authors and curriculum developers formulate a better approach to textbooks which has to be an approach reflecting gender equality, cultural and religious diversity. As far teachers, publishers and policy-makers, the training tool offers guidance on how to promote peace, equality and diversity in and through their work so as to trigger changes in representations.
The participatory methodology to be used for the production of the training tool started during the “UNESCO Expert meeting on textbook development” at UNESCO’s HQ in September 2012 where international experts and educational stakeholders reviewed existing materials from UNESCO and drafted the outlines of the training tool. In May 2013, the revised tool was then tested in the workshop “Writing textbooks free from prejudice” organized by UNESCO in Rabat (Morocco). It was finalized the same year, integrating Rabat participants’ comments and inputs collected during two meetings in September and October 2013.
The training tool is consisted of three modules related to diversity on a social level, including gender, culture and religious. The training tool was designed in such a way that adaption according to the political and educational system is possible.