IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


New publication launches to address anti-Semitism in schools

24 November 2020

The UCL Centre for Holocaust Education has designed and supported a new UNESCO and OSCE framework curricula for teacher trainers ‘Addressing Anti-Semitism in Schools: Training Curricula’ that launches in a virtual event today.

Teacher speaking to secondary pupils. Image: Phil Meech for UCL Institute of Education

The alarming rise of anti-Semitism threatens the security of Jewish communities and individuals around the world. Against this worrying backdrop, the UCL Institute of Education’s Centre for Holocaust Education team collaborated with UNESCO and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) to respond to these trends. The outcome of this partnership led to the new resources ‘Addressing Anti-Semitism in Schools: Training Curricula’.

The publications aim to prepare teachers and schools’ senior leadership teams to prevent anti-Semitism through teaching and learning and address it when it arises in education environments. Divided into four distinct volumes, the new publication includes targeted curricula for trainers of primary education teachers, secondary education teachers, vocational education teachers and school directors.

The Centre supported and developed the new resources as part of ODIHR’s Turning Words into Action to Address anti-Semitism project within the framework of UNESCO’s programme on Global Citizenship Education. The new publication is based on UNESCO and ODIHR’s guidelines for policymakers on ‘Addressing anti-Semitism through Education’ published in 2018. It is informed by desk research, surveys, interviews and a series of capacity-building workshops in 2019, which reached policymakers from more than 60 countries. These meetings in Paris, Minsk, Vilnius, Bratislava, Geneva and London allowed UCL Centre for Holocaust Education academics to draw upon the insights and rich, diverse experiences of international partners. This is reflected throughout the guidance and materials, with each designed to provide research-informed curricula, pedagogic and safeguarding support.

The Centre’s Programme Director, Ruth-Anne Lenga said: “It has been a great privilege to have worked with OSCE/ODHIR on this important project. Now more than ever, with increasing anti-Semitism in both cyberspace and real space, this curriculum framework, which trains pre-service teachers on how to recognise and address anti-Semitism, is a critically important development.

"Ministries of education across the world and those involved in education policy-making need to get behind this publication and support its implementation in their nation states if they mean business and are committed to supporting teachers in tackling anti-Semitism through education.”

Dr Arthur Chapman said of the project: “Our work is premised on the importance of knowledge. Combatting anti-Semitism, hatred and prejudice requires teachers to develop: self-knowledge, as professionals, of their values, contexts and obligations; content knowledge about anti-Semitism and prejudice; and pedagogic knowledge with which to plan proactively and also to respond effectively to critical incidents. The Words into Action teacher training curriculum and resources were developed through research and wide consultation with subject and pedagogic experts from around the OSCE.”

The curricula follow a human rights-based approach and provides pedagogical knowledge with concrete activities to strengthen learners’ understanding of anti-Semitism, critical thinking, and overall resilience against prejudice and discrimination.  Each volume includes a comprehensive list of good practices as well as examples of scenarios and methodological suggestions. Adding to the publication, the USC Shoah Foundation UNESCO Chair on Genocide Education is developing a website that will link the curricula to existing online teaching resources.

The full curricula can be accessed via the following links:

The online launch event features Professor Stuart Foster (UCL Centre for Holocaust Education), as well as representatives from the OSCE ODIHR, UNESCO, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, the World Jewish Congress, ADL (Anti-Defamation League), and the USC Shoah Foundation.

Professor Stuart Foster, Executive Director at the Centre for Holocaust Education, said: “I am privileged to participate in this hugely significant UNESCO-OSCE international event.  The launch of the curriculum materials and guidance comes at the end of three years of collaboration and consultation with colleagues across the world.  I have no doubt that the curriculum framework, largely developed by specialists at the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education, has the potential to make a significant impact on addressing anti-Semitism in all its forms.”