Peace Education in Classrooms
Peace education has been defined as a process of promoting the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values needed to bring about behavior changes that will enable children, youth, and adults to prevent conflict and violence (both overt and structural), resolve conflict peacefully, and create the conditions conducive to peace at the intrapersonal, interpersonal, intergroup, national, and international levels (Fountain 1999: 1; UNESCO 2002).
For peace education to be effective, experts argue that it has to be comprehensively planned, embedded, and implemented both within and outside the different levels of the educational sector. Hence, while the formal educational sector comprising the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels are recognized as a key to vibrant peace education, many experts further recognize that in order to register the maximum impact in society, peace education should also integrate the informal and semi-formal training sectors. The informal sectors would, for instance, comprise the role of institutions like family, religious bodies, mass media, and community-based agencies as channels and networks of political socialization and, by deliberate design, education-for-peace. The semi-formal sector would include the role of special short-term training and capacity-building programs such as workshops and seminars in generating, spreading, and strengthening a peace culture (UNICEF Working Paper on Peace Education for Children).
Peace Education is best thought of not as a distinct subject in the curriculum, nor as an initiative separate from basic education, but as a process to be mainstreamed into all the quality educational experiences. The main objectives of this training program are therefore as follows:
- Introduce educators and members of civil society organizations to the basic concept of Peace Education and where it fits in within the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals
- Address the prevention and resolution of all forms of conflict and violence, whether overt or structural, from the interpersonal level to the societal and global level
- Equip participants with basic tools and exercises to foster a more inclusive classroom environment and promote empathy and understanding between students