Education plays a valuable role in safeguarding intangible cultural heritage (ICH). It can provide context-specific content and pedagogy for education programmes, both formal and non-formal, thus acting as leverage to improve the relevance of education and learning outcomes.
In line with this and as part of the implementation of a pilot activity on safeguarding ICH in non-formal education in Nepal, UNESCO, in collaboration with the Centre for Education and Human Resource Development (CEHRD), organized a two-day orientation workshop for managers from 15 Community Learning Centres (CLCs) and education officers from their respective local governments on 19 and 20 November 2021. A total of 30 participants attended the workshop, which was held in Lalitpur. The CEHRD selected the CLCs from all seven provinces of the country, based on the criteria for implementing the pilot activity.
To ensure the essential role of the government in the process, the workshop aimed for long-term collaboration among the participating CLCs, communities and local governments in safeguarding ICH, as well as developing content for a capacity building training for CLC facilitators on integrating ICH in the CLCs’ programmes and activities.
Our intangible cultural heritage is our identity; if we fail to safeguard it, we will lose our identity as Nepalese.
We can often see a lot of distortions in our culture. It is of utmost importance to safeguard it and pass it on to the younger generation through appropriate teaching platforms; CLCs can be the proper venue for this.
The workshop attempted to deliver powerful messages on the need of safeguarding ICH for future generations by incorporating it into non-formal education. Nipuna Shrestha from UNESCO highlighted how ICH can contribute to sustainable development by uplifting the lives of community people – economically, environmentally and socially.
Dr Nilkantha Dhakal, Director at CEHRD, held a session highlighting the current status of non-formal education in Nepal, and the role that federal, provincial and local governments and CLCs play in it.
A team of experts–Prof Dr Ganesh Bahadur Singh, Mr Bhim Nepal and Dr Som Bahadur Dhimal–delivered various sessions covering key concepts and principles of ICH safeguarding, from inventorying to community participation and incorporating ICH into CLC activities.
Until and unless people do not realise the economic benefit of safeguarding their intangible heritage, no safeguarding activity will be successful.
Likewise, Ms Jayanti Shrestha Pradhan from the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation hosted a session highlighting the current status of ICH safeguarding and the government’s role in this.
To help safeguard ICH through CLC activities, the attendees identified ICH elements present in the respective communities and aspects to be considered for inclusion in the CLC facilitator training to be held next month. They participated in group discussions and provided suggestions for the involvement of the government and CLCs.
Based on the discussion and feedback received from this workshop, the upcoming training for CLC facilitators will focus on familiarizing them with the key concepts, principles and approaches relevant to integrating ICH into their programs and non-formal education content delivery, and will test appropriate entry points suggested during a review of non-formal educational materials and current programs at the CLCs carried out during July and August of 2021.
After the training, the participating CLCs will each develop proposals for a pilot activity in their respective areas that highlights strong linkages between ICH safeguarding and sustainable development and addresses the needs of their local communities.
This activity was organized as part of the intersectoral activity “Living Heritage and the Sustainable Development Goals: Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage in Non-formal Education in Asia and the Pacific” with the support of the International Information and Networking Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in Asia and the Pacific Region, under the auspices of UNESCO (ICHCAP).