Celebrating World Heritage Day 2013


world heritage 2013

“World Heritage Day”

With the aim of preserving and conserving the world’s culture and its tremendous heritage, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) designated the eighteenth day of the month of April of every year i.e. 18th April as International Day for Monuments and Sites, which is popularly known as “World Heritage Day”.

Every year there is a theme around which the celebrations across the world revolve.

This year’s theme is the Heritage of Education (schools, universities, libraries, academies, etc.) in its expressions in different geo-cultural contexts. Throughout history and in different geo-cultural contexts, education was practiced in a wide range of places or buildings. Open spaces, agora or the protective shadow of a tree could be useful for the transmission of knowledge, but also specific institutional buildings such as schools, universities, madrasas, academies, libraries, monasteries, etc.

Many of those buildings, groups of buildings or sites are recognised as bearing not only social or institutional values but also historic or artistic ones, and have therefore become a significant part of our cultural heritage.

The protection and conservation of the heritage of education not only implies preserving cultural assets but also, at the same time, celebrating education as one of the fundamental human tasks.

Historic overview

On 18 April 1982, on the occasion of a symposium organized by ICOMOS Tunisia and a corresponding meeting of the Bureau in Hammamet, it was suggested that a day be established to celebrate the diversity of heritage throughout the world. From this idea, the International Day for Monuments and Sites was born. This project was approved by the Executive Committee who also provided practical suggestions to the National Committees on how to organize this day.

heritage 2The UNESCO General Conference adopted the concept by passing a resolution at its 22nd session in November 1983 recommending that Member States examine the possibility of declaring 18 April each year “International Monuments and Sites Day”.

While many countries and regions have established heritage days, such as the European Heritage Days celebrated each year in September, the International Day for Monuments and Sites presents an opportunity for all ICOMOS National Committees to advocate their shared cause together on the same day.

At the revival of this day in 2001, ICOMOS President Michael Petzet and the Executive Committee proposed that the 18th of April be used by all Committees to draw attention to a particularly endangered type of cultural heritage in conjunction with the annual Heritage at Risk report. Every year a growing number of ICOMOS.

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National Committees all over the world are holding special events on the 18th April.

Showcasing a few heritage educational institutes in India
Schools for Auroville, Tamil Nadu

Started in 1984, the Kindergarten today provides for 46 children in four groups. About half these children are Tamilians, though ten other nationalities are also represented. The coordinating team consists of 7 main teachers and assistant teachers plus 5 specialized teachers for music, Sanskrit song, swimming and body awareness.

In the rhythm of the day, the Kindergarten alternates between rigorous activity and quiet activity, directed activity and free choice activity. The aim is to develop the whole child, their concentration and each of the senses, while at the same time keeping a balance between meeting the needs of the child and meeting the needs of the group. Children have opportunities for self-expression and the exploration of their own interests, but at the same time they are expected to be considerate toward others, to respect the environment, to participate and to share. The children learn in English, but all children are also taught Tamil and French plus songs in Sanskrit.

Deepanam School

Deepanam SchoolDeepanam School has been in existence since 2001 and is evolving towards a free progress education, following Sri Aurobindo’s and Mother’s principles and guidance.

We also integrate the work of other educational researchers and pioneers which are in tune with these principles.

In this active and free progress oriented approach classrooms are replaced by areas of work and play, where children can move freely, following their own rhythm and inner guidance. These different areas are: Languages, Mathematics, World and Science, Arts, Role-play, Workshop (clay/carpentry), Garden and sports ground. In each of these areas children can find a variety of consciously chosen material, and a guiding person to assist them. The teachers also make sure that the prepared environment is always organized, safe and updated with new material. Besides this, several projects of different duration are always offered in which children can choose to participate.

Two to three times a month, there is an excursion exploring life in and around Auroville to gradually extend the area of the child’s experiences. The weekly School Assembly gives the students the opportunity to make their own decisions regarding the functioning of the school and to closely come in touch with decision making process. Deepanam is offering a harmonious, organized and safe learning environment to all children, so they can grow integrally and in their own rhythm.

Super school

Super school is a school where the subjects are of the higher levels of human thought and action and are treated in a holistic manner. The programme is pursued at a ‘super’ level and at a ‘super’ or accelerated speed. The aim is to ‘summarise’ the human past so quickly that one can have all the energies to pursue the development of the future. This requires a great deal of ‘schooling’.

Super School prepares the being to enter into ‘No School’ which is the condition when the instrumental nature is fit to pursue on its own integral growth so as to create the four-fold personality spoken of by Sri Aurobindo: i.e. in the domains of wisdom, heroism, harmony, skill in works.

A Note on Unending Education in Auroville: A must read

Saeaswati Vilasam Malayalam School, Edakkoly

Saeaswati Vilasam Malayalam School, Edakkoly was the first School in ramapuram. It was established in 1887 as an unrecognized institution, Madavana Raman Nair as the manager in 1909 the school became Malayalam middleschool with seven standards. It was surrendered to the government in 1920, in 1981 it became government highschool and in 2000 government Higher Secondary School.

The government L P School near Ramapuram temple was started in 1903 in the north vadyappura of the curuch. In 1960 it was transferred from the prenise of the church and functioned in the Sreelakshmi Theatre building. Later on the school started functioning in the present place contributed by Ramapurath Variyar Memorial Tust by constructing its new building.

The Valyath LP School started with recognition in 1907 is one of the earlier educational institutions in ramapuram.

Edakoly Malayalam Middle School Pala St.Thomas SchoolAt that time only a few people were able to continue their studies at Edakoly Malayalam Middle School Pala St.Thomas School. So most people discontinue their studies after the primary level. As a solution in 1916 a middle school was started at ramapuram under the church leadership.

The third forum was started in 1922 and in 1937 there started the fourth forum and became the High School. But in 1939 instead of starting the sixth forum, measures were taken to stop the high school due to the storage of students and scarcity of infrastructural facilities. Then the school was under Muvattupuzha D.E.O and as per his special report the High School was cancelled. In 1950 St. Augustines High School has became an important school at ramapuram. The school showed excellence in curricular and co-curricular activities. If got first place in science for many times in the state in 2000 the school became Higher Secondary School.

Druk White Lotus School

This school is located in Shey (the ancient capital of Ladakh) about 30 minutes’ drive up the Indus Valley from the main town of Leh. A branch school opened in Khachhey in April 2010.

dwls_dragon_garden_druk_white_lotus_school_ladakh2_600xStudents study Bothi (the local language), English and Hindi languages, plus sciences, social studies, creative arts and sports. They learn life and livelihood skills, including team work, presentation skills, leadership and problem solving through formal and co-curricular activities.

The school is known locally as ‘Druk Padma Karpo School’ (‘Padma Karpo’ means ‘White Lotus’ in Bothi) and is named after Mipham Pema Karpo (1527-1592), who is revered as a great scholar.

This unique initiative is managed by the Druk Padma Karpo Education Society (a local non-profit society) with support from Live to Love, Drukpa Trust (UK charity no 1014948 under the patronage of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama), the Drukpa Charitable Foundation (a US 501(C)(3) organization) and Drukpa Humanitaire (France).

Swami Vivekananda used to say that education is the panacea of all social evils. But by education he did not mean merely book learning. He said, ‘We must have life-building, man-making, character-making assimilation of ideas.’ And added ‘What we want is that education by which character is formed strength of mind is increased, the intellect is expanded and by which one can stand on one’s feet.’

This is the vision of Ramkrishna Mission Vidyalya, Narendrapur, West Bengal.

Ramkrishna Mission Vidyalya, Narendrapur, West Bengal.The Vidyalaya endeavors to educate the students in its charge according to the best traditions of the country, while instructing them in all directions – physically, mentally, intellectually and spiritually.

As it prepares the students for public examination, it also tries to attend to their all round growth and development so that they may become strong and healthy citizens of the country rooted in sound moral principles, learn to respect the higher values of life and become conscious of their obligation to the society and its people.

April 18 is World Heritage Day, aka International Monuments and Sites Day.

In 2013, the theme is Heritage of Education (schools, universities, libraries, academies).

Keep track of official Events on the ICOMOS calendar:


heritage mexico

Nov 19-22 12th Congress of the World Heritage Cities Organization (OaxacaMexico)


Submitted by Meetika Srivastava


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