The United Nations, in its observation of the week of International Day of Peace 2021 this year places emphasis on healing from the COVID-19 pandemic and calls for the world to collectively think about how we can recover better while building a more resilient, equitable, inclusive, sustainable, and healthier world. Turn the Bus, being an education- focused non- profit, takes this opportunity to reflect and think about the role of education in peace.
1. Education can promote a tolerant, peaceful society
First off, we must look at the direct role of education in promoting a tolerant and inclusive society. While this rests completely on the educational curriculum, as well as promoters of education, we all know that when human beings are educated about the importance of secularism, equality, and inclusivity, these ideas certainly lead to children appreciating and working towards a more peaceful, more inclusive society. Another fundamental component of this, is the education of different world views, so that students can appreciate diversity and learn to foster peace and growth in a multi- cultural society.
2. Education can reduce poverty and in turn, lead to a more peaceful society
We are privy to the fact that more deprivation and poverty can lead to more dangerous environments, where violence and crimes are plenty. Education, when employed to help citizens break out of this notorious trap, can build stronger, more peaceful communities. This is not an immediate intervention, but is a systemic change that may occur over a period of many years.
3. Education can lead to more democratic society
It is not for nothing that education is deemed as the ticket to freedom- quite literally- especially for vulnerable groups around the world. Through education, vulnerable groups like women and racial and ethnic minority communities, are educated about ideas like democracy and can advocate for their rights and more democratic government processes.
4. The idea of ‘Peace Education’
First off, what does ‘peace education’ mean? It means the promotion of the knowledge, skills and processes to help people prevent conflicts, resolve conflicts peacefully and create environments of peace. Thus, ‘peace education’ quite literally teaches its students about the core values of nonviolence and peace, along with values such as respect for human rights, freedom, equality, democracy and trust. The themes in this curriculum include nonviolence, conflict resolution techniques, democracy, disarmament, gender equality, human rights, environmental responsibility, international understanding and tolerance of diversity, etc.
Among all the above ways education can help build peace, which one probes you the most?