Education & Cultural Diplomacy
By Hassan Diab (Minister of Education & Higher Education of Lebanon)
Curriculum reform in education systems should cater for the needs of the 21st century, and equip students with the right knowledge and skills that will enable them to work, live and contribute in a highly competitive global society. The education sector can, directly and actively, serve the goals sought by cultural diplomacy, especially through the educational curricula and all curricular and extracurricular activities that falls within, in addition to various teachers training programs.
To achieve this, one should look at all the study subjects of the pre-university sector in a comprehensive and integral way, with a special focus on those subjects that deal with social sciences, arts, communication and research. Moreover, by gradually and consistently infusing subjects related to cultural diplomacy in an integrated and holistic manner that achieves the consistency and the integration between different teaching materials and across the whole teaching process, regarded not only as being a set of goals and content, but also by paying due attention to the arts of teaching and evaluation as well as to the techniques and methodologies used.
Teaching resources are also of great importance together with both classroom and extracurricular activities, as these represent the practical and operational context by which the concepts of cultural diplomacy can be disseminated and experimented. All this require organizational plans and thorough follow-up schemes according to a well-defined set of mechanisms and criteria, which supports and consolidates these concepts in the mind of the learners.
This also requires harmonization between all study cycles and a bundle of programs and projects as well as targeted extracurricular activities leading altogether to the achievement of intended goals and outputs clearly expressed in the cognitive and conceptual mindset, in the competence and behavioral space, in the personal and social environment of each individual.
One should focus in this regard on the cooperation as an important way to benefit from all available resources and to share the diversity of experiences and practices and to enhance the self-learning student-centered approach.
No doubt that the teacher is a key player in implementing any relevant process. That is why all training programmes that address the professional and educational aspects need a special philosophy and methodology. This can equally apply to all other training and rehabilitation programs, career development, and to the different professional status of the teacher and his/her promotion scheme and performance evaluation.