UNESCO study to examine treatment of Holocaust in global curricula

Shoah Memorial, International Dimensions of Holocaust Education. Photo: UNESCO

23 August 2012 – A new United Nations study exploring the ways schools around the world address the subject of the Holocaust and which ones are doing so is now underway, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced today.

The project, entitled 'International Status of Education on the Holocaust, A Global Mapping of Textbooks and Curricula,' and conducted in conjunction with Germany's Georg Eckert Institute for International Textbook Research, will assess academic curricula from 195 countries and ultimately map and illustrate where the Holocaust is being taught and how.

The 18-month long survey is the first of its kind to fully analyze and compare representations of the Holocaust in textbooks and national curricula.

“The results of this unprecedented global survey and the recommendations that emerge from it, will provide educational policy makers with a basis on which future decisions concerning curricula can be made,” UNESCO stated in a press release.

“This is of particular concern to countries in which the Holocaust has not previously featured in the curriculum,” it added.

As part of its effort to examine whether extant textbook representations of the Holocaust are nuanced, comprehensive and unbiased, the study will also scrutinize and then compare textbooks from 20 representative countries.

Further efforts to encourage Holocaust education are undertaken by the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, established by the General Assembly’s adoption of resolution 60/7 in 2005. This global initiative includes print and online educational products, seminars, exhibits and a film series. In addition to the Programme, the resolution’s contents included urging UN Member States to develop educational programmes to instill the memory of the tragedy in future generations, in order to prevent genocide from occurring again.


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