Parents need take responsibility Saturday, 05 November 2011 03:28
Parents, together with schools and the Supreme Education Council, need to take on the responsibility of passing on Qatar’s heritage to the younger generation, said Hammad Almuhanadi (pictured), the Director of Heritage Department of the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage.
Speaking to The Peninsula, Almuhanadi said that Qatar’s society is undergoing rapid changes, and its effects can be seen on the popular culture. “During Gharanga’aw, for instance, you now see children wearing Mickey Mouse and Spiderman costumes, instead of the traditional attire,” he said. Gharanga’aw is a local festival that takes place on the evening of 15 Ramadan, in which children gather in groups and walk from one house to another as they collect sweets and dried fruits.
Because of satellite TV and the influx of modern technology, people are drifting away from their culture, Almuhanadi said, and in such an environment, cultural practices face the risk of dying out.
“We need to take steps to ensure that our cultural heritage does not disappear in the wake of modernization,” he said, while adding that institutes can play a central role in imparting an education that values heritage, which will in turn give children a vision of the future.
The director noted that he was not against progress and development. Because of education, the Qatari youth is more empowered today than ever before. “Most of the youngsters are travelling to different countries for higher education. They speak fluent English, French and other languages. This social development has helped us in spreading our message to the world.”
In a survey conducted by the Ministry, it was found that some Qatari parents had little interest in passing on the oral history of their forefathers to the children. “Culture can help us to raise our children. The folklores, games and songs, each of them carries great educational value,” said Almuhanadi. The survey also revealed that the expatriate communities were keener on learning about the culture of Qatar, which is why the Ministry hopes to initiate programs related to local heritage and culture in the expatriate school as well.
Speaking about the steps that need to be taken to preserve Qatar’s heritage and national identity, the minister said that the focus so far has been on tangible forms of heritage. In Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al-Thani Museum, one of the country’s most popular private museums, rare artifacts of Qatar’s heritage can be found. However, Almuhanadi said that there was a greater need to preserve the intangible cultural heritage. “The ministry publishes newsletters and magazines in Arabic and English to create more awareness about the local culture. We want people to know that our heritage is very rich.”
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