India is one of the largest multicultural and diverse countries in the world. It boasts of rich knowledge traditions and cultural heritage. Due to the impact of colonialism and the ever-increasing impact of globalization, however, the Indian education system has been designed in a way that sidelines cultural studies to pave the way for STEM subjects only. As important as the latter is, it is important to adopt strategies to safeguard India’s multifaceted knowledge from being erased from our memory.
One way to do so is to revitalize the diverse aspects of its knowledge through education. Our organization, Cultre, an IIT-Kanpur incubated heritage and culture startup, has launched the second edition of The Heritage Olympiad on all domains related to Indian arts, culture, and heritage. It aims to strengthen heritage education in India and provide a comprehensive test focusing on three main aspects- tangible, intangible, and natural heritage. The Heritage Olympiad will be conducted on the occasion of Children’s Day, November 14, 2021, on Cultre’s online platform.
The olympiad has been conceived with the goal of integrating heritage education in schools and making it more accessible to a younger audience. As founders of Cultre, we have tried to make use of conceptual definitions that are available with international organizations like UNESCO and tailored them to serve in an Indian context.
Heritage from an Indian perspective is about flowing traditions that on one hand are handed down from the past, and on the other hand, are traditions that are created in the present which will be passed onto future generations in one form or another. Traditions of past and present merge to become a feature of civilizational identity.
In keeping with this conceptual framework, the curriculum for The Heritage Olympiad has been designed in a way that is broadly aligned with the curriculum and syllabus followed by the major national and international boards. It also integrates concepts of Global Citizenship and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); Environment & Sustainability and Protection of Traditional Knowledge, Heritage Sites, and Historic Cities.
The complete focus of the second Heritage Olympiad is on school students to ensure that the understanding of Indian heritage is inculcated early on and that the participants are able to perceive that traditions are not simply handed down from the past but are also created in the present which will be passed onto future generations in one form or another.
The Heritage Olympiad is open to all school students for the age group 10-17 and will be conducted at three levels:
- Group 1 (10-12 years) – Classes 5th, 6th & 7th
- Group 2 (13-15 years) – Classes 8th, 9th & 10th
- Group 3 (16-17 years) – Classes 11th & 12th
The Heritage Olympiad provides an opportunity for students to engage with the rich cultural heritage of India, and get back in touch with their roots. Students will also get the chance to win exciting prizes including gift vouchers from Fabindia, subscriptions to the Amar Chitra Katha app, and more.
The first Heritage Olympiad, conducted on World Heritage Day in April 2021, was open globally to students from classes 5th-12th, university students, as well as heritage enthusiasts. The event was a huge success receiving participation from people from all corners of India spanning 26 states and 4 Union Territories, totaling 390 cities from varying tier categories, and 20 countries in total.
We also had several esteemed organizations associated with The Heritage Olympiad as Knowledge Partners, Institutional Partners, or Outreach Partners. These include, but are not limited to, UNESCO, National Rail Museum, Sahapedia, Nehru Planetarium, Mehrangarh Museum Trust, and Royal Opera House, Mumbai.
An education rich in the arts and humanities along with robust scientific learning helps prepare students to deal with the challenges of India’s evolving socio-economic environment. An interdisciplinary pedagogy is getting increasingly recognized today as borders blur between academic disciplines. Heritage education is not limited to just a history of thought and expression but also includes the methods of educational inquiry and its interaction with other disciplines. Cultre is actively filling this void in the current educational space through The Heritage Olympiad. Don’t miss the opportunity to be a part of this- Sign up now at www.heritageolympiad.com to register for The Heritage Olympiad!
Vaibhav Chauhan, the co-founder of Heritage Olympiad, has trained in managing and conserving heritage. He has top-up certifications in sustainable tourism, digital marketing, CSR, and management from institutions that include IIT-B, IIM-B, ISB, National Law University, and Harvard Business School. He has been associated with renowned institutions like UNESCO, Ministry of Cultre, National Museum Institute, Sangeet Natak Akademi, and National Mission for Manuscripts to name a few. He has co-founded cultural enterprises like Sahapedia.org, India Heritage Walks & Museums of India in the non-profit space.