Building peace in the minds of men and women

Education about the Holocaust and genocide - Reviewing curricula and textbooks

UNESCO works with the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research to provide education stakeholders with recommendations for the development of curricula and textbooks, so as to ensure that materials available provide educators with quality directive.

The International status of education about the Holocaust: A global mapping of textbooks and curricula, published in 2015, compared representations of the Holocaust in curricula and textbooks worldwide, covering 272 curricula in 135 countries and 86 history and social science textbooks in 28 countries of all regions. The study provides background information about the quality and contents of education materials dealing with the Holocaust, and about some of the most common shortcomings in terms of historical accuracy or conceptual and narrative inflections.

Recommendations resulting from the study are available in all United Nations languages: EnglishFrenchSpanishArabicChineseRussian

Building upon this research, UNESCO, the European Union Commission and the Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbooks Research have launched a new research to provide a detailed overview of how the Holocaust and other cases of genocides and atrocity crimes appear in textbooks and curricula of European countries. This new study, tentatively entitled The Holocaust and Genocide in Contemporary Education: Curricula, Textbooks and Pupils’ Perceptions in Comparison examines the national and regional legacies of the Holocaust and other genocides in contemporary education, compares the ways in which different disciplines treat these topics, and assesses the degree to which understandings of them conveyed in curricula, textbooks and pupils’ writings converge or diverge. As the field of genocide studies appears to be complementing Holocaust studies, and as education stakeholders increasingly appeal for greater knowledge of historic atrocity crimes and of genocidal processes in general, this research analyses existing educational materials in use in countries in and on the periphery of Europe.