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Pedagogical Use of the General History of Africa

The Sankofa Bird. © UNESCO

In March 2009, UNESCO launched Phase II of the General History of Africa Project to respond to the strong expectations expressed by the African countries to adapt the contents of the volumes of the GHA to school teaching. The aim is to enhance the knowledge of African students of their continent's history and contribution to the general progress of humanity.

The goal of the new project entitled “the Pedagogical Use of the General History of Africa”, which will be implemented in four years, is to contribute to the renovation of history teaching in African countries and to promote the process of regional integration launched by the African Union. It will consist of elaborating common contents in history for use in African primary and secondary schools as well as teacher guides, and promoting the use and harmonizing the teaching of the General History of Africa in Higher Education Institutions throughout the continent.

A new Scientific Committee entrusted with the intellectual and scientific orientation was established. It comprises 10 members coming from the 5 sub regions of Africa. The project reflects the priority given to Africa by UNESCO, and is in line with Second Decade of Education for Africa (2006 – 2015), which lays emphasis on the links between education and culture and the improvement of the quality of educational content in Africa.

  • Read the background documents related to the Conference held in Tripoli, Lybia (10th-12th June 2010):

         Conference Outline

         Conceptual Framework       

         Evaluation Report on the current state of history teaching in Africa    

         Content Review (Recommendations)     

         General Report

  • For more information on the project background, please refer to the "Background Papers" dedicated corner.


The Sankofa Bird © UNESCO



Used as a symbol of the Pedagogical Use of the General History of Africa, the concept of SANKOFA is derived from the Akan people of West Africa. The term comes from the words "san" (return), "ko" (go), and "fa" (look, seek, and take).  

Sankofa teaches us that we must go back to our roots in order to move forward. That is, we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us, so that we can achieve our full potential as we move forward.  

Visually and symbolically Sankofa is expressed as a mythic bird that flies forward while looking backward with an egg (symbolizing the future) in its mouth.

Flip over the Pedagogical Use of the General History of Africa Brochure

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