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The rise of peace education both in scholarship and in practice has yielded numerous documents, websites, and publications with often divergent perspectives.
Table of contents
- PEACE EDUCATION
- Critical Peace Education and Emotion
- SAGE Reference - Peace Education
- Duplicate citations
- About Jean Nelson
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Present-day conflicts are commonly characterized as interstate, or fought between different groups within a national boundary. Since World War II, many people have perished, either by participating in or being caught in interethnic conflicts. The report explains that conflict is a part of human nature, and we need to learn how to manage it by using nonviolent means. As an educational approach, schools are encouraged to provide learning activities, including sports and cultural events, whereby students of diverse backgrounds work together for common objectives.
Through this cooperation, students would become more aware of their common characteristics and interests. However, such educational interventions face challenges because access to quality education is often severely limited due to the resource constraints and capacity deficiencies of national authorities. In such a case, various nonstate actors may need to be involved.
The notion of human security is relevant and important in this regard. The report calls for diverse actors, from nongovernmental organizations to international donors and agencies, to work together to safeguard the essential rights of people exposed to life threats and risks, including access to opportunities to learn how to live together. Educational opportunities should also be diversified to reach out to learners who no longer attend formal schools.
Non-formal education and adult literacy training, including accelerated learning programs, catch-up programs, or equivalency programs for those who missed schooling due to conflicts or disasters, can become an important venue to provide these learning opportunities. The host nation of refugees typically hesitates to actively provide social services to refugees because such a policy may encourage them to stay longer in their newly found sanctuary.
IDPs also face a challenge, in that the national or local authority may be reluctant to provide social services, including education, to those hostile to them. Refugees and IDPs, in turn, may refuse to accept the national curriculum, which they view as containing unfair representations of their group in subjects such as history and literature. These situations often necessitate, or create space for, the involvement of external actors to provide alternative education with the aim to facilitate reconciliation, thereby enhancing human security. The PEP, which was implemented in both schools and the community at large, aimed to develop skills among refugee youth to communicate, cooperate, and think critically.
Researchers studying education and peace are primarily interested in discovering and understanding the relationship between these two concepts. Peace, or its absence, affects education significantly.
Critical Peace Education and Emotion
Peace can help fulfill the achievement of basic human rights, including the right to receive basic quality education. The absence of peace, or the presence of physical, structural, and cultural violence, can affect the provision of educational services and learning outcomes. Further research to analyze the impact of conflict on educational services and their effective delivery in emergencies can greatly support the realization of EFA. More research in this direction is advocated, because such research studies would seek answers to questions regarding the values, meaning, and functions of education.
A challenge emerges when we operationalize these two concepts, particularly peace. The operationalization of education is relatively simple. Researchers would ask, for example, what and how much education contributes to more, or leads to less, peace. They would look at the type of education, for example, primary education or across different education levels, and its coverage enrollment rate. Or they would choose to focus on a particular subject or educational activity, and compare the performance of participants and nonparticipants, or pre- and post-participation of the same group.
The operationalization of peace is more challenging. What should we look for in order to determine if and to what extent peace is being built or strengthened? If one adopts the definition of peace as the absence of physical violence, data will be focused on showing a change in the pattern or frequency of violence in the place where the educational activity takes place.
Of course, one may argue that violence could occur regardless of a particular educational intervention. Here the distinction between outputs or outcomes and impacts is useful. Outputs of a particular subject or an activity can be measured by the acquisition of a particular set of knowledge, attitudes, and skills that are considered to be pro-peace, while impacts are presumed long-terms consequences of the intervention for a society at large. Impacts are difficult to assess, given the many confounding factors that can affect the consequences of interventions.
In operationalizing the concept of peace, social cohesion can be a useful idea.
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Social cohesion refers to the density and interplay of the horizontal trust relations between social groups and the vertical trust relations between government institutions and civilians. One may examine the degrees of social trust across different societies or different periods within a society to determine the effectiveness of a particular educational intervention. In constructing survey items to gauge the degrees of social trust, the World Values Survey or a similar instrument can serve as a helpful reference.
The World Values Survey is an international project that examines changing values and their impact on societies.
SAGE Reference - Peace Education
After operationalizing peace, the next step is to determine the unit of analysis, which can be a school, community, region, or nation. When one conducts an activity in a school, the dependent variable may be the frequency of violence or the degree of trust among the students in the chosen school or its surrounding community.
Such a relationship can be established by an experimental study or by a qualitative inquiry approach using a case study or interviews with program stakeholders participants, instructors, managers, and community residents. Then, one can judge whether the school or community has become more peaceful due to the intervention. When the unit of analysis is a broader society, such as a region or a nation, assessing the impact of an activity involves the work of inference. One may argue that the significant effects noted between participating and nonparticipating schools or from pre- to post-intervention would mean that such an activity can contribute to the building and maintenance of peace in the wider society.
However, such logic can invite criticism due to the possibility of confounding new variables. The frequency of violence or the level of social trust can increase or decrease, regardless of education. For this reason, research addressing education and peace must define the scope of its claim from the onset of its inquiry.
This is particularly relevant in the case of policy studies, because their results are often expected to show the impact of an intervention on the broader society. Galtung, a prominent peace scholar, introduced the notion of structural violence as a systematic form of discrimination against individuals and groups in a society. It is important to note, however, that structural violence is not necessarily linked to large-scale military conflict. For them, peace may not be felt. Peace is not just the absence of physical violence; it has to include justice. Today, international aid donors address structural violence by conducting conflict analysis that examines the equality and equity of access to social services, among other topics.
For example, they analyze whether and to what extent certain social groups may be marginalized from educational services due to their linguistic backgrounds.
Kosovo is a prime example. As a result, the ethnic Albanian teachers and students left the state schools and started their own schools in private homes, where it was difficult to provide quality educational services.
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This law created discontent among the ethnic Albanians that eventually escalated into a conflict. Understanding the equality and equity of educational access across different educational levels can also help us assess the nature of structural violence and its potentiality for physical violence.
Ishiyama and Breunig, for example, found in their cross-national analysis that access to higher education is a more significant indicator than access to primary and secondary education in preventing the recurrence of violence. The quality of education is another area that needs to be addressed by research communities because it has an important implication for the reduction of structural violence. Quality in education encompasses two areas: the learning environment and learning content. Educational access and a better learning environment are closely linked.
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A number of research studies have found that many children drop out of school in developing nations due to the lack of a quality environment for learning, including the lack of qualified teachers. Where qualified teachers are available, their frequent absence has been reported, which is suspected to discourage children from attending school.
The lack of monitoring by local administrative offices or school managers further exacerbates teacher absenteeism. Quality of education also refers to learning content, which has implications for the reduction of structural violence. For example, citizenship education that encourages students to critically examine the issues of equality, equity, and social justice can nurture citizens who are able to transform the society into a more just one. In postwar Guatemala and other parts of Latin America, democratic citizenship education based on the doctrines of human rights and participation has been introduced by regional bodies, though it has been reported that such education did not necessarily address the issues of power structure and a sense of belonging, elements regarded as critical in the region.
The Sustainable Development Goals SDGs and the Incheon Declaration, an international proclamation of educational goals for the period between and , refer to the importance of global citizenship education and Education for Sustainable Development ESD. Discussion on the evidence of their effectiveness and achievement indicators has just begun.
About Jean Nelson
A core debate in the field of education and peace research concerns the ways in which we deal with the balance between unity and diversity. Such values are ingrained in the concept of multicultural education. However, multicultural education came to be viewed with some skepticism in the s. Facing the arrival of overwhelming numbers of immigrants from non-Western civilizations and the perceived need to integrate them into their societies, the Western governments began advocating citizenship education, whose basic premise lies in the need to have a set of knowledge, skills, and values shared by their citizens.
While acknowledging that each culture has value, policy-makers and scholars became concerned that social divisions based on the lack of interaction between cultural communities might create fear and mistrust between them. Multicultural education based on the idea of cultural relativism has also been scrutinized by human security scholars, who tend to base their claims on the principle of universalism. For example, Martha Nussbaum, an American philosopher, limits the scope of cultural values that should be tolerated.
According to Nussbaum, education for girls and women is imperative to their life improvement and human security, regardless of the societies in which they live. In post-conflict societies, extreme forms of multiculturalism have been seen as a threat to peace-building, rather than as an approval of cultural rights. Bosniaks Muslims , Serbs Christian Orthodox , and Croats Christian Catholics each claimed their right to educate their children according to their ethos.