Fostering Tolerance and Diversity in Schools - Achievements of TDI’s 3-year project
Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI) has completed a three-year project - “Fostering Religious Tolerance and Cultural Diversity in Public Schools of Georgia” implemented from September 2018 with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Georgia. The project aimed to raise awareness of cultural diversity, tolerance, and equality in public schools, improving the content of the school curriculum and textbooks.
During the three years, TDI prepared several educational resources and actively cooperated with the Ministry of Education of Georgia, public school teachers, authors, and publishers of school textbooks. The implemented activities provide the opportunity to achieve sustainable and long-term results.
Review of the textbooks and cooperation with authors
During the project implementation, TDI reviewed and evaluated up to 60 textbooks of Georgian language and literature, history, civic education, and geography for the 7th, 8th and 9th grades. The revision aimed to assess the content of the textbooks in terms of reflecting equality and cultural diversity. As a result, TDI prepared recommendations and guidelines to help textbook authors and publishers reflect the principles of human rights and tolerance, avoid discriminatory and stereotypical language, and highlight cultural diversity in textbooks. Within the project framework, TDI held up to ten workshops/meetings with textbook authors and publishers.
Trainings for teachers
In 2021, at the final stage of the project, TDI conducted training courses for teachers and subject experts. 110 teachers/school administration representatives, 28 civic education and leadership experts, and 24 history subject experts attended a total of 78 meetings organized by TDI.
For the training courses, TDI developed the special training module and the guidebook - Lessons of Tolerance. The course includes the following learning topics: religious neutrality in public schools, ethnically and religiously diverse classes, the tradition of Georgian tolerance - when I talk about the history, literature, and present of Georgia, the importance of teaching about and understanding the Holocaust, religious and ethnic holidays, planning excursions, etc. The meetings were interactive and included both theoretical and practical components.
TDI prepared the following educational materials:
The book - The Golden Rule of Religion is intended for teachers, researchers, and students. The book highlights the importance of tolerance and compassion towards humans from the perspective of various religions.
The guidelines developed for textbook authors helped them reflect cultural diversity, non-discrimination in the textbooks and create content free of stereotypes and hate speech.
Lessons of Tolerance - a guidebook for teachers - overviews the specific cases of violation of religious freedom and the lack of respect for ethnic diversity in public schools and offers specific solutions to the teachers and school administration.
The glossary of frequently used terms offers media correct definitions of essential terms related to religious, ethnic, and cultural diversity.
And the following graphic and video resources:
Interpersonal relationships in The Knight in the Panther’s Skin
Work with the media
TDI continues active cooperation with the media and organized several workshops on the current challenges of protecting freedom of religion, respect for cultural diversity, and the media’s role in addressing the topics.
Marking the International Day for Tolerance and other public events
With the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Georgia, on November 16, TDI annually marks the International Day for Tolerance. Different types of events are held each year, showing the importance of tolerance and diversity and the best examples from Georgian and world history:
2018 - Summary of TDI’s five years work and the exhibition “Images of Diversity”
2019 - The Vector of Courage
2020 - The Golden Rule of Tolerance
On 24 January 2020, TDI marked the International Day of Education with the conference Tolerance and Diversity in Georgian Schools. The event was attended by teachers, the Ministry of Education representatives, field experts, local and international organizations, diverse ethnic and religious communities.
On 27 January 2021, on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, TDI published quotations about the results and experience of the Holocaust by various well-known authors, philosophers, historians, writers and captives of the Auschwitz concentration camp.