Cao Bang Geopark

http://caobanggeopark.com


EFFECTIVENESS OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF “GEOPARK AMBASSADOR CLUB” MODEL IN UNESCO GLOBAL GEOPARK EDUCATION FOR SCHOOLS

Non nuoc Cao Bang geopark, a member of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network, is an exceptional territory of outstanding geological heritage of international significance and rich of historical and cultural values. It is the homeland of ethnic minorities with diverse ethnic cultural identity involving festivals, traditional crafts and folk arts.  
Non nuoc Cao Bang was designated as a UNESCO Global Geopark in April 2018 since the geopark met the necessary criteria of UNNESCO such as: having a defined boundary, containing geological heritage of international significance, developing management and international cooperation plans, especially, offering geopark education for schools. However, there are 6 recommendations for Non nuoc Cao Bang to carry out before the revalidation; and geopark education for schools is one of the key issues that must be improved so that Cao Bang can be well-prepared for the incoming revalidation (scheduled in July, 2021).

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The teachers in charge of “Geopark ambassador” clubs experienced Nguom Slua heritage site to collect data serving their club activities

Since its establishment, Non nuoc Cao Bang UGGp has always paid attention to promoting awareness of the global geopark for communities, especially, for the young generations because we understand clearly that the geopark’s development requires the active involvement of the communities. Realizing the shortcomings of the development of Non nuoc Cao Bang UGGp in term of geopark education for schools, Non nuoc Cao Bang UGGp Management Board proposed the Provincial People's Committee to formulate a development plan for Non nuoc Cao Bang UGGp, including the task assignment to related departments, especially Cao Bang Department of Education and Training to jointly direct the implementation of the geopark education for schools. This proposal was concretized by the Plan No.63/KH-SVHTTDL-SGD&DT on promotion and education about Non nuoc Cao Bang UGGp for schools between Cao Bang Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism and Cao Bang Department of Education and Training. According to the Plan, from the school year 2017 to 2019, all schools of 3 levels in Cao Bang (primary, secondary and high schools) organized propaganda and education programs about Non nuoc Cao Bang UGGp with diverse forms suitable with different school levels, strengthening the cooperation with stakeholders to ensure quality and effectiveness of education activities. Geopark education contents cover the following information: the development process of Non nuoc Cao Bang UGGp, tangible and intangible heritages, geological and geomorphologic heritages, etc. Moreover, students have learnt about Non nuoc Cao Bang UGGp in Local History and Geography lessons under the form of integrated learning.
It is the fact that the geopark education for schools in the period 2017-2019 has achieved certain results, especially, in the promotion of the UNESCO Global Geopark title to school students in Non nuoc Cao Bang geopark area. However, there still exist some problems related to the implementation of the geopark education in accordance with the Plan No.63/KH-SVHTTDL-SGD&DT and the geopark education in this period did not strongly meet the criteria as a UNESCO global geopark in term of the geopark education for schools. There were some certain problems when implementing the geopark education activities at schools; especially, the difficulties in choosing implementation forms and contents; teachers and students in charge also found it difficult because the contents related to the geopark education of Non nuoc Cao Bang UGGp were unfamiliar specialized knowledge to them.
The Summary Report of Plan No.63/KH-SVHTTDL-SGD&DT also indicated that 100 percent of schools carried out propaganda programs about the geopark; however, the contents conveyed to the students and the forms of propaganda activities were limited (100% of schools organized extracurricular sessions).
With the objective to solve the problems in the geopark education for schools, the Management Board of Non nuoc Cao Bang UGGp studied some activities and models related to geopark education for schools and advised Cao Bang Provincial People's Committee to deploy "Geopark ambassador club" model. This activity aims at developing a group of students (with a passion for exploring culture, history, geology, biology, and adequate English competence) to study about the geopark under the guidance of Non nuoc Cao Bang UGGp Management Board and geological experts. Basing on document research and their knowledge, the club members will organize propaganda activities to introduce the geopark’s heritage values to other students.

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Members of the clubs experienced Nguom Slua heritage site and Mr. Homestay

In order to launch the implementation of the club model, Non nuoc Cao BangManagement Board in collaboration with Cao Bang Department of Education and Training studied and developed 02 documents: the operational guiding document and the framework document for the implementation of the “Geopark ambassador club” model. After finalizing these 2 documents, the Management Board of Non nuoc Cao Bang UGGp associated with Cao Bang Department of Education and Training to organize field learning trips to take the teachers in charge of the “Geopark ambassador” clubs of 6 piloted schools (3 high schools and 3 secondary schools) to experience heritage sites of 3 experience routes. After the field learning trips, a training of trainer course was held with the objective to help the teachers in management, operation of the club model and support students in the implementation of the club activities. On that basis, the piloted schools established “Geopark ambassador” clubs; under the guidance of the Management Board of Non nuoc Cao Bang UGGp developed a participatory implementation plan, took the club members to experience heritage sites so that the club members could understand the meaning and role of building the UNESCO global geopark model, the value of heritage sites in the geopark area, helped the club members develop such skills as teamwork, communication, and collecting information (pictures, clips) to serve the geopark propaganda and education activities.

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 Propaganda activities organized by Geopark ambassador” club members at Cao Bang High school for gifted students, CaoBang Ethnic Minority Boarding school, Cao Bang City High school

The combination of researching documents and organizing field learning trips to heritage sites has improved the effectiveness of the geopark education for schools. The teachers in charge of the "Geopark ambassador" clubs at the piloted schools all agreed that “Geopark ambassador club" model is very practical and useful for their teaching and geopark propaganda activities at schools. Ms. Ha Thi Kim Anh - English Teacher - in charge of Hop Giang Secondary school’s “Geopark ambassador club" said that “This is a necessary and effective activity. The implementation of the model is also convenient thanks to the operational guiding document, training courses on the club model implementation for teachers and students. It is the students who decide the forms and contents of geopark education propaganda activities. Through such activities, it is easy for other students to acquire information about the geopark, because the language used in propaganda activities is expressed through club members who are students of the same age and background knowledge as them; the propaganda activities are also more attractive to students because these activities are organized by the students. Especially, the students participating in the club have a chance to develop more skills like communication skills: taking pictures, reporting news, making propaganda clips, teamwork, participatory club model implementation planning, etc”. Ms. Pham Thi Thanh Hien - Chemistry teacher of Hop Giang Secondary School shared that: “In addition to improving the effectiveness of the geopark education, the “Geopark ambassador club” model helps the students understand the subjects they learn at school more clearly and be able to relate what they have learnt at school with real life. For example, students can relate the knowledge they learn in Chemistry to explain the formation of karst caves; impacts of the use of chemicals in mining activities on the environment, etc. Moreover, the students have opportunities to broaden socio-cultural and indigenous knowledge so that they are more proud of their homeland and actively contribute to the promotion of the province image to the world.”
           “Geopark ambassador club” model is one of the initiatives that the Management Board of Non nuoc Cao Bang UGGp shared in the Vietnamese Geoparks Network for implementation. According to Mr. Guy Martini, Chairman of the UNESCO Global Geopark, this is an interesting model that can be applied to effectively carry out the content of "Geopark ambassadors" currently deployed in the Global Geoparks Network or to replace it.
          The geopark education has always played an important part in the development strategy of Non nuoc Cao Bang UGGp. With the objective to promote the effectiveness of the geopark education in the community, especially the geopark education for schools and carrying out 6 recommendations of UNESCO for Non nuoc Cao Bang UGGp, the Management Board will continue to cooperate with Cao Bang Department of Education and Training to support "Geopark ambassador" clubs operate effectively, and actively share the implementing experience of the model within Vietnamese Geoparks Network and the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network. This is also one of the missions to serve the UNESCO revalidation of Non nuoc Cao Bang UGGp in the coming time.

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