Original publication: June 2018
Author: Nicole Gesche-Koning
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Education in Cultural Heritage

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The aim of present study is to provide an in-depth analysis of potential synergies between the education and the cultural heritage policies. Synergies between education and heritage policies exist; they nevertheless are insufficient and not structured in such a way to be helpful enough to both sectors. Links between culture and education and vice versa are not systematically organized, as in the majority of countries they belong to different separate ministries.

Following questions have thus been addressed:

  • What are the reasons justifying these synergies?
  • What goals and initiatives does the EU wish to support by linking cultural heritage and education policies?
  • What are the barriers to recommendations put forward since the end of the 20th century and why did they not have the proper follow-up?
  • Where has one failed to achieve in this area? And
  • What can the EU Parliament do to help?

Europe is facing major changes in education, one of the domains, which has evolved less than others since the 19th century. Rethinking the educational system tends to break down barriers and adapt to a changing world. However, the school curricula still remain too centred on key subjects with little connection between one and another, not sufficiently related to present-day realities and not sufficiently encompassing skills in digital technology. This leads to poor PISA results, early school dropouts and increased unemployment. In cases where schools and teaching institutions see in culture and cultural heritage an important mind-opener they remain too imprisoned in a day-to-day organisation lacking flexibility, personnel and appropriate financing. Field trips require time, money, efficient, properly trained teachers, and shared responsibilities.

The heritage sector is in constant evolution, rethinking its goals, encompassing new fields and being at the core of new declarations and conventions. It enhances participation, engaging not only specialists but also the layman. In developing public-oriented activities, from schools to adult lifelong learning, the awareness and need to protect our common heritage has grown, as has the idea of considering it a shared responsibility. However, heritage education as such is too often related to one-time events and not centred enough on the long-term. Integration of heritage matters in a variety of sectors among which education is an important if not essential answer to:

  • Democratic citizenship;
  • Environmental protection;
  • Job growth;
  • Social inclusion;
  • Sustainable development; and
  • Well-being.

The answers to the questions mentioned above reveal:

Insufficient communication and synergy between both sectors, the most difficult issue with the quantity of information available nowadays being how to organise it in an efficient way;

  • Lack of structural timing for cultural heritage education within the present school systems (Culture et Démocratie, 2009);
  • Failure to adequately disseminate good transferable examples past and present (Collard & Witte, 2015);
  • Too rare long-term programmes linking education and cultural heritage;
  • Insufficient systematic training in cultural heritage education (Cramer, 2003); and
  • Too scattered financial support to ensure both training and cultural heritage education activities.

The first chapter analyzes some key concepts related to culture, education and heritage. Building up responsible citizens is nowadays advocated as an essential aim for education, preparing people to become more creative and innovative in a society in search of new values, equality, social inclusion, and justice towards a more sustainable world in which cultural heritage education may play a key role.

The second chapter “Dynamizing the cultural heritage. Beyond perpetual motion” analyzes the potential synergies between the education and cultural heritage sectors showing relevant examples developed in different Member States.

Chapter three describes some past model synergies which could be developed following the major recommendations listed in Strategy 21 according to its three main components, social, territorial and economic and knowledge and education.

Finally the recommendations put forward in the different chapters are grouped in a last chapter. They all derive from the answers to the questions stated above and have the same goal: finding new ways to open structural synergies between the education and cultural heritage sectors on a long-term and efficient co-constructive basis leading towards greater sustainability. It is thus here recommended to have this achieved by:

  • Integrating structurally cultural heritage education in all school curricula;
  • Maintaining and developing existing synergies;
  • Developing new synergies between education and cultural heritage policies on a long-term, integrated, and inclusive approach;
  • Having centralized practical, useful and shared information between both the cultural heritage and education policies;
  • Disseminating good practice transferable and/or adaptable examples ;
  • Developing systematic training courses in cultural heritage education ; and

Ensuring adequate financial resources to meet these recommendations ;

Link to the full study: http://bit.ly/617-486

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