In March 2009, UNESCO launched the "Pedagogical Use of the General History of Africa" to meet the high expectations expressed by African countries regarding the adaptation of the content of the volumes of the General History of Africa to school education.
To this end, UNESCO has developed educational content to be taught in African primary and secondary schools in order to improve the knowledge of African pupils and students on how African societies have evolved through time and space and the impact of these changes on the present and the future. The aim is also to highlight the contribution of their continent to the general progress of humanity. As a result, they will learn to develop a sense of pride in their heritage, self-esteem and self-confidence, which are essential to becoming masters of their destiny and that of the African continent.
The Pedagogical Use of the General History of Africa was thus decisive for the achievement of the objectives of the Charter for African Cultural Renaissance, which states that “the unity of Africa is founded first and foremost on its history”, while stressing “the need for reconstruction of the historical memory and conscience of Africa and the African diaspora”. It also promotes the implementation of Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want, which emphasizes the need to fully embed the ideals of pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance in all school curricula. This initiative, unprecedented in history, is playing a pivotal role in strengthening the links between education and culture, and in improving the quality of pedagogical contents.
Non-formal and informal education
Inspired by new approaches to learning, UNESCO wishes to establish an educational continuum accompanying learners both at school and at home. UNESCO also wishes to consider all those who, including those in the family context, have not had the opportunity to go through formal educational structures or who have left school before the minimum period required and some of whom have not been able to acquire the necessary reading skills. The aim is to raise public awareness and accompany pupils and students, at schools and at home, by developing educational material for young people, adolescents and the general public on African history and its prominent figures.
The content will be largely composed of cartoons, comics and a series of radio programmes in which the General History of Africa will be interpreted for the audiences of mainstream and community radio stations. These programmes will address the history of Africa, from its origins to the present day, with a special focus on key moments in history as well as key figures who can inspire present and future generations.
In this context, UNESCO has developed two partnerships aimed at conveying the messages of the GHA through documentary and fiction cinema: first, with the famous BBC journalist and producer Zeinab Badawi, through a series of nine documentary films based entirely on the collection of GHA volumes; and second, with the Pan-African Federation of Filmmakers and the Film Foundation supported by the mythical director Martin Scorsese, through the restoration of 50 African film classics, the content of which is in line with the GHA Project.
- Interview with Zeinab Badawi: I see my hyphenated identity as an advantage
- Watch on BBC World News: nine-part series based on UNESCO’s "General History of Africa" book collection
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