Symposium Held on Vocational Training for ICH Safeguarding in Central Asia

Group picture of the 8th Central Asia Sub-regional Network Meeting on the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage © ICHCAP

ICHCAP held a symposium under the theme of ‘Safeguarding ICH and Building Vocational Training Network’ on 26 July in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, which was jointly organized with the National Commission of the Kyrgyz Republic for UNESCO. The symposium took place as a part of the 8th Central Asia Sub-regional Network Meeting on the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, and it was attended by experts from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Mongolia, and Korea. The participants discussed the current status and challenges of ICH vocational training of the countries in link with the international pursuit of sustainable development.

Held under the theme of ‘Safeguarding ICH and Building Vocational Training Network’, the symposium consisted of thematic presentations, country reports, and a comprehensive discussion. During the thematic presentations, Kwon Huh, Director-General of ICHCAP, said vocational training can make significant contributions to ICH safeguarding in his presentation on ‘Formal and Non-formal Education as a Means of Safeguarding ICH’. He specifically highlighted the importance of balanced development of formal and non-formal education. He also stressed that the education of ICH-related ethical principles should be enhanced in educational institutions and curricula to ensure the sustained existence of ICH. Then, Khalafova Aigul, Culture Specialist of the UNESCO Almaty Office, gave a presentation with the subject of ‘Cultivating ICH Transmitters through Vocational Education and Training’. She emphasized that it is important to help ICH transmitters become economically independent. The last presentation was delivered by Gulnara Aitpaeva, Director of the Aigine Cultural Research Centre, and Gulnara Ibraeva, a vocational training expert from the NGO PIL. They explained the current vocational training status in primary, secondary, and tertiary education institutions in Kyrgyzstan. They pointed out the difficulty in stable development of ICH vocational training. As most of the training is performed informally, it thus highlights the importance of national-level support and formal education. They also stressed that people’s perception that vocational training is necessary only for lower social classes should be changed as soon as possible.

The thematic presentations were followed by country reports on ‘Status of ICH Vocational Education and Training in Central Asia’. National case studies on the subject were shared among the participants who were also given a chance to learn from the experts through discussion. The participants agreed that the ethical principles established in accordance with the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage should be applied in educational institutions and curricula. They thanked ICHCAP for having suggested the new topic of the relations between ICH transmission and vocational training. The participants also agreed on the necessity of preliminary surveys for ICH vocational training network building, as the countries have different backgrounds and policies. The symposium closed successfully with the expectations that the network will make great contributions to the expansion of ICH transmitter-oriented vocational training.

ICHCAP will promote a multidimensional expert network by exploring various topics on ICH and continue its international cooperation for the sub-regional safeguarding of ICH.