Education As a Necessary Tool for Peacebuilding

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      Education remains an important vehicle for promoting any society’s social, cultural, political and economic transformation. Broadly conceived, it involves acquiring knowledge, developing useful social and personal skills, imparting individual and communal values, and refining attitudes, beliefs, and ideas. The preceding uncovers the importance of education in fighting ignorance; building bridges for cooperation and partnership; levelling and tearing down preconceived notions of hate and prejudices; and deepening our understanding of diversity, which in turn promotes tolerance, compromise, dialogue, respect, justice, among others values necessary for development and peace in society.

      No society can develop and achieve progress in the absence of peace. Therefore, peace is a priceless and unnegotiated factor required for the socio-political wellbeing of human society. Therefore, peace whether in the absence of war between contending groups or in the presence of justice, fairness and equity, is foundational for fulfilling the personal and social destinies of man and society, respectively.

      In addition, peace flourishes in a society that pays attention to the purposeful and conscious education of the citizens towards developing national or communal values and orientations. Conversely, ignorance deepens intolerance and creates rifts for conflict to thrive.

      Therefore, education must serve the purpose of promoting peace and creating conditions that deoxygenate conflict or the triggers of violence among diverse groups – be it religious, cultural, ideological or political entities. The question that arises from the task above is thus: how do we design the education of our society as a tool that promotes peace? Several strategies are useful in order to achieve the objective above. These strategies include; developing a national education policy that promotes and strengthen a common identity among groups.

      There is also a need to design an educational curriculum to address relevant issues such as structural violence, marginalization of a minority or physically challenged groups, gender and economic inequality, or other conditions that encourage exclusion of any form. By addressing these societies, education is used to tackle conditions likely to trigger conflict and destroy peaceful coexistence. The provision of education to citizens must be seen as a right deserving of all to equip them with the skills and capacities needed to transform their personal realities. Hence, a society without quality education that guarantees personal and social progress is a time bomb waiting to implode.

      To cap it up, the presence and provision of education are nothing but taking steps to preserve peace. Education that promotes peace must be qualitative, culturally sensitive, personally empowering and focused on problem-solving.

      Education, should be tailored towards promoting social change through dialogue, not resistance through force. Education must nurture the values of tolerance, respect, compassion and support for fellow humans. Again, it is good to emphasize that, education must instil in individuals the skills of dialogue even in the most volatile situations because dialogue facilitates understanding and dispels parochial ideologies.

      ©Peter Oyinmiebi

      Peace to the Street and Creeks Movement



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