European Union Initiatives for Education in Cultural Heritage

Europe’s cultural heritage holds significant value, not only as a reflection of history and culture, but also as a means of promoting learning and understanding among its citizens. According to a 2017 Eurobarometer survey, 88% of Europeans believe that Europe’s cultural heritage should be integrated into school curricula.

The European Commission, through education in cultural heritage, aims to provide opportunities for people to interact with cultural heritage, learn new concepts, and acquire skills. Through direct experiences and analytical approaches to cultural heritage, students gain knowledge, intellectual skills, and competences related to heritage preservation and societal well-being.

This effort is supported by the European Framework for Action on Cultural Heritage. Many resources and initiatives have been developed to facilitate the teaching of cultural heritage in schools across Europe.

One of these initiatives is E-twinning, the online portal that constitutes the community of European schools. It is aimed at educators and offers ideas and activities for integrating cultural heritage into the classroom.

Another valuable resource is the School Education Gateway, Europe’s online platform for school education, which provides specialized workshops and opportunities for information exchange to promote education in cultural heritage.

Teachers who want to incorporate education in cultural heritage into their classrooms can also use the Toolkit for Teachers, which offers rich learning materials. It includes games, competitions, and activity books for primary and secondary school students, helping them discover the EU in a fun and educational way, as well as teaching materials for educators.

Several highlighted projects demonstrate efforts to promote education in cultural heritage:

  • Dive Into Heritage: A project funded by the European Union under the Erasmus+ program, aimed at training volunteers to recognize and preserve cultural heritage.
  • Engaging Youth for an Inclusive and Sustainable Europe: A joint project of the EU and UNESCO that helps schools map and integrate intangible cultural heritage into their curricula.
  • INCREAS: Participants in the project develop innovative educational solutions for the cultural heritage sector, such as digital skills modules, workshops, study visits, and a structured peer-to-peer exchange program, funded by the European Union under the Creative Europe program.
  • CHARTER: The “Cultural Heritage Actions to Refine Training, Education and Roles” (CHARTER) aims to identify and bridge the skills gaps between the educational and professional worlds by developing a matrix mapping skills and competences in the heritage sector.

More information can be found on the European Commission’s page for education and cultural heritage.