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UNESCO Associated School Network

National Coordinator in the Russian Federation, “TISBI” Rector

Nella Pruss, Ph.D.

UNESCO Associated Schools Project

  Executive Dirеctor in the Russian Federation

Natalia Larionova


Dear colleagues and friends!

Greetings from the UNESCO Associated School Network coordination centre.

The idea of teaching staff involvement in UNESCO activities was put into practice in 1953 as a part of "UNESCO Associated Schools" project. Institutions that constitute the system have set themselves a task of educating the youth in traditions of tolerance and understanding of international issues through educational techniques aimed at active participation of students. At the initial stage 33 schools from 15 states joined the project, which now includes about 7,500 educational institutions in more than 170 countries, the number of schools - project participants is constantly growing.


The Russian ASP net was formed a little later, in 1957, which nevertheless did not prevent it from blending in the project and from actively using the enormous potential in enhancing the quality of education within the work on implementing the UNESCO priorities.


Performing one of the main tasks - providing quality education, Russian schools are characterized by a high level of educational process organization, the introduction of innovative approaches into teaching, harmonization of the student-teacher relationship, as well as student engagement in research work.


The project currently covers the entire country: from Petrozavodsk and Kaliningrad in the west to Yakutia in the east, from Murmansk in the north to Dagestan in the south. Nine regional centres were created in our country based on their geographical positions for the more effective coordination and the optimization of the project work. They are: "Moscow", "The Centre", "Baltic-North" and "South-Caucasus", "Volga", "Bashkortostan", "Ural", "Saha-Baikal" and "Siberia-Altai".


There is a smoothly running ASP net system in Russia at the moment. According to this system each school operates on an international level, within regional projects and the projects based in educational institutions. At regional meetings, participants analyze the results of project activities and contribute UNESCO specifics to educational curriculum. Annually the National Council on the project "UNESCO Associated Schools" in the Russian Federation is held where the best practices, initiatives, and mechanisms of cooperation with Russian UNESCO Chairs are discussed and yearly annual reports on the activities of regional schools and future plans are presented.


Project activities are conducted in collaboration with the international project coordinator Livia Saldari (http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/networks/global-networks/aspnet/), UNESCO Office in Moscow (http://www.unesco.org/new/ru/moscow/), the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO (http://www.unesco.ru), Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation in cooperation with local authorities, non-governmental agencies and business entities.


UNESCO Associated schools fulfill the function adapting the school to the needs of the global information society, introducing innovation-oriented culture and the most effective practices of ICT use in the learning process. In April, 2011, at the International Conference "ICTs and the Quality of Education: UNESCO Associated Schools. The Way Towards the School of the Future" (http://www.tisbi.ru/news/2011/IKTConf.html) it was decided to develop and implement the "Smart School of the Future" pilot project, which is aimed at creating common informational, educational and cultural space in the UNESCO ASP net.


One of the first initiatives under the project was organizing free courses in elementary computer literacy for Russian ASP net students, developed by CISCO and the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education. According to the program plan free training courses are scheduled for 150 teachers from 75 UNESCO Associated schools, then this course is to be integrated into school curriculum as an additional (or elective) UNESCO course.


As a part of the international drawing, writing, photography contests, theme concerts, exhibitions, summer camps, etc. students learn to take responsibility for our common home - the Earth, to share ideas and propose solutions of certain problems. All this contributes to upbringing a person as a globally minded individual with an active civic and social stance.  


By operating with the terms "sustainable development", "gender equality", "education for all", "world heritage" etc. and introducing  UNESCO  categories into the language, children shape a global mindset, broaden the horizons and the scope of their future professional and personal interests.      


An established tradition of UNESCO international scientific conferences is arranging a separate section for the representatives of the UNESCO Associated Schools on different priorities of the Organization.


Participation in international events and community activities introduces students and teachers of the UNESCO Associated Schools to the sphere of the world interests in culture, education and science, and gives them insight into the global problems of ecology, socio-economic development, conservation of World Heritage sites and other topical issues of contemporary society.


However, each region as well as each school inevitably brings its own specific character, originality and fresh ideas into the process of implementing the project.


Thus, the "Baltic-North" region focuses on education for sustainable development as a UNESCO priority area. Various activities are carried out in cooperation with the environmental research centers, water utilities and universities of the region: social projects, "The Arithmetic of a Light Bulb" and "The Arithmetic of Water ", a mini-project "Monitoring the Chemical Composition of the Neva River Water", etc.


The same line of UNESCO environmental safety - the approach based on the balance between environmental conservation and sustainable development of the ecosystem, is successfully implemented by the UNESCO Associated Schools in the "Siberia-Altai" region that actively participates in the annual International Ecological Action "To Save and Preserve". The campaign embraces more than 30 major events and competitions at regional, national and international levels. In 2011 the event was devoted to the forests and their global extinction rates which remain alarmingly high.


The main UNESCO ASP net activity in "the Volga" region is, without doubt, the study and the preservation of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. Among the best recognized practices of the region that help to attract public attention to  the problem of preserving the natural and cultural diversity are: the annual charity event "Island-Town Sviyazhsk: Our Heritage Is In Our Hands!" that was organized by the Faculty of Professional Education at the University of Management "TISBI" (Kazan); creating and testing a series of environmental tasks collections for all major school subjects -" Environmental droplets ", that was developed by Samara State Regional University (Nayanova University) and introduced in 15 regions of Russia; a regular campaign for springs restoration, creation and landscaping of an artificial lake site by Secondary Karaduvan School of the Republic of Tatarstan. Such activities give everyone the opportunity to participate in the preservation of world heritage sites and to learn to think globally.


The schools of the "Moscow" region, which is known as one of the leading centers of international cooperation due to its openness and the inclusion of the variety of natural and cultural diversity projects, have succeeded in this field. Undoubtedly, the pioneering and successful project of the region is the remote competition called "The Great Rivers of the World," which brings together students from all Russian UNESCO Associated Schools in order to form the ecological world outlook of the young people. The annual youth festival "Druzhbovidenie" is aimed at promoting dialogue and mutual enrichment between representatives from different countries.


The associated schools of the "Saha-Baikal" region achieved high results in the preservation and promotion of intangible cultural heritage of indigenous peoples of the world. This was done by building a wide network of international educational partnership institutions in Belgium, France, USA, China, and organizing annual cultural and language training internships, camps, and creative schools for students and teachers. The Yakut heroic epos "Olonkho" is one of the "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of the Humanity", recognized by UNESCO and covering folklore, oral traditions, languages, spectacles, rituals and festive events, skills and customs, traditional crafts. In respect to these masterpieces we should also mention the Bashkir epic "Ural warrior" - the subject of numerous activities by the Committee of the Republic of Bashkortostan for UNESCO.


The innovative methods of combining the study of tangible and intangible cultural heritage of other nations were proposed by the associated schools of the "Ural" region. In the framework of the International multimedia project "Chattanooga (USA) - Nizhny Tagil - sister cities" (Secondary school № 5, Nizhny Tagil) the participants exchange  books in Russian and English languages, souvenirs, handcrafted items, postcards and also take part in the international remote chess tournament for the students of Nizhny Tagil and Chattanooga. As a part of long-term project "Sketches", operating since 1994, Ekaterinburg  Gymnasium № 8 organizes thematic children’s art exhibitions both in Russia and abroad based on the study of natural and cultural features of selected foreign countries.


As demonstrated earlier, the participation in the UNESCO programs contributes to the mutual enrichment of cultures, enables the use of the best practices for the protection and preservation of tangible and intangible cultural heritage. UNESCO Associated Schools are carrying out activities to develop the creative potential of students on a global scale. A vivid example of such an initiative is the international festival movement "Starlit Youth of the Planet" co-organized by Interschool Aesthetic Center (Krasnodar region "South-Caucasus") in order to identify and support young talents from Russia and Europe.


UNESCO Associated Schools of Russia implement innovative projects while promoting the culture of peace and nonviolence that involves all political and social partners and young people in particular through activities related to human rights, democracy, reconciliation and dialogue. Thus, the Gymnasium № 177 in St. Petersburg (the "Baltic-North" region) created a series of online games on Human Rights, "Me and My Rights" (puzzles for the elementary school, Internet  tasks for primary schools, online debates on legal issues for high school). The Podvyazanovsk Secondary school in the "Centre" region organizes annual educational meetings entitled "Peacemaking: Uniting Efforts" on the basis of the "Birch Grove" children educational centre during the winter vacation in school. During the meetings the students get acquainted with the principles of tolerance, law and peacekeeping; meet with the government officials and the public; discuss the problems of youth; conduct round tables, debates and peacekeeping actions. Gymnasium № 86, Nizhny Tagil ("Ural" region) hosts an open academic competition in Human Rights that covers a variety of events: essay competitions and research projects on the topic "Our Human Rights", etc. The “Ural” region Coordination Centre holds the annual International Week of Science, Culture and Peace among regional children associations.


An important aspect of the Russian ASPnet activities is the promotion of UNESCO ideas and priorities, as well as the enhancement of the international educational competence of students and teachers. Among the most effective projects in this regard are: the remote academic competition "The UN and Us" and the International Youth United Nations Model, carried out by the UNESCO Associated Schools of the "Moscow" region; a series of lyceum radio broadcasts dedicated to the UNESCO international days, initiated by Nizhny Novgorod Gymnasium № 80 ("the Volga" region); the Samara United Nations Model (school № 11, "the Volga" region); the international intellectual games "What? Where? When?" on the topics of UNESCO (the "Centre" region) and “Brain Ring” (The Republic of Bashkortostan).


The results of the work carried out by the UNESCO Associated Schools of the Republic of Bashkortostan are especially noteworthy. The innovative project entitled "The Fifth Term" implemented by the Bashkir Institute of Social Technologies became a progressive form of the "school-university" interaction. During the school vacation breaks the leading professors of the institute give lectures for the students of the Ufa UNESCO Associated Schools in the framework of various UNESCO project activities like: "World heritage", "The interaction of cultures in the multi-language environment", "International youth leaders", etc.


The implementation of such initiatives as the annual outreach session "The Youth of Bashkortostan Explores the UNESCO World Heritage", which is a study tour around Europe for the republic associated schools’ students which includes visits to the National Commissions for UNESCO, promotes dialogue and further collaboration of schools throughout the world.


I hope that ASPnet’s collective experience inspires you to cooperate with the Network on future projects.

Университет управления «ТИСБИ» Адрес: ул.Муштари, 13 (или ул.Маяковского, 22), Казань, Республика Татарстан. Телефон: (843) 236-92-97, (843) 299-51-07. .