Results of the survey on Technical and Vocational Education and Training Institutions for Intangible Cultural Heritage in Central Asia

14 March 2019

Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and skills development face various challenges related to rapidly evolving labor markets. Nevertheless, TVET is one of the key educational sectors to build a skilled workforce to safeguard and popularize ICH, increase its role, and ensure transmission, particularly through formal and nonformal education.

According to UNESCO, intangible cultural heritage (ICH) is made up of oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals and festive events, knowledge, and practices concerning nature and the universe, and traditional craftsmanship knowledge and techniques.

Three of the ICH domains are directly linked to TVETtraditional craftsmanship, performing arts, and knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe.

In this context with the support of the International Information and Networking Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region (ICHCAP), Almaty Cluster Office to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan launched a survey. The survey aimed at gaining better understanding of the existing ICH-related programmes, courses, initiatives and resources in technical vocational education and training institutions in the Central Asian region. The survey outcome is to inform and the develop recommendations to further networking among TVET for more effective ICH transmission in the region.

This survey is the first attempt to generate an understanding of current activities and needs of TVET actors in the Central Asian region, specifically in four countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Despite a high potential of the ICH related specialties, programmes, and courses in TVET institutions, the following challenges remain unaddressed. The survey shows that in all given countries ICH is incorporated into TVET programs at different levels. The common challenges for them are the following:

  • Lack of clear understanding of ICH and the 2003 Convention by the teachers of TVET and many local experts in the field of education and culture as well.

  • Lack of professional teachers in various disciplines related to ICH who are able to transmit the system of values alongside with practical skills and experience.

  • Insufficiency or lack of financial and technical support (lack of workshops and equipment for students and teachers). The system of TVET, due to historical inertia, does not have social prestige and recognition. That is why governments of Central Asia do not spare enough funding for the development of this educational sector. In spite of some attention paid by international organizations to TVET this sector has not become sustainable yet. Apart from a lack of financial support, pedagogical staff of TVET in all given countries need to be trained on ICH and its relationship with education.

  • Lack of national, regional, and international networks of TVET institutions, conditioned by a limited understanding of their potential benefits.

  • Disproportional specialties and courses related to different domains of the ICH. For example, there is a need to develop the area of customs, rituals, and celebrations, as well as to develop the area of knowledge and customs related to nature and the universe.

In general, all technical and vocational education institutions are open for cooperation and exchange of available resources, especially teaching staff and curricula, as well as setting up voluntary associations (unions) both nationally and regionally. On the other hand, traditional knowledge and skills in all these countries are imparted from one generation to another on a daily basis, from craftsmen to their disciples, from parents to children.
protecting heritage

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