Appeal for inclusion of peace education into school curriculum (Nigeria)

(Reposted from: The Guardian. December 9, 2023)

By Michael Akinadewo

Prof. Kolawole Raheem has said that Peace Education should be taken more seriously globally, calling for its mainstreaming into school curriculum and non-formal learning.

Speaking at the African Refugees Foundation (AREF) lecture themed, ‘Mainstreaming Peace Education into School Curriculum and Non-formal Learning’, Raheem argued that peace education must be contextualised to make it culturally and spiritually relevant to everyday life for global living. He said that peace itself is elusive and very complex, noting that every society defines it according to its preferences.

“So far, peace education is majorly taken as learning conflict resolution skills. It has not also been seen as a priority in our quest for sustainable development. We still think that it is enough to manage conflict and go on with our everyday life. However, events all over the continents in this world show that violent activities are more rampant and taking many more innocent lives.

“The competitions among nations and individuals have become very alarming. Even students at schools are perpetrators of violent activities that claim the lives of students and teachers.”

The political competition for leadership is a war. The more we talk of civilisation the more we see savage things being promoted by the so-called modern man/woman.

“The way out of this quagmire is for nations to make use of their educationists to come up with purposive Peace Education that is contextualised for teaching and learning in schools. It must be part of the school curriculum just like science and other subjects,” he said. Raheem underscored the importance of teaching everyone, including children, not just how to manage conflict but also how to prevent conflict.

“That means the Peace Education skills must be taught both at school and at home. The mainstreaming of Peace Education into the curriculum is very important for the necessary radical paradigm shift in our thinking and efforts on how to maintain global peace.”

Prof. Kolawole Raheem

“That means the Peace Education skills must be taught both at school and at home. The mainstreaming of Peace Education into the curriculum is very important for the necessary radical paradigm shift in our thinking and efforts on how to maintain global peace,” he added.

Raheem said incorporating peace education into the school curriculum is very important for the necessary radical paradigm shift in thinking and efforts on how to maintain global peace. He noted that the activities going on around Nigeria resulting in violence and killings is because of the absence of peace.

According to him, nowadays in the real world, the absence of war is not peace.

“We see war as only an intense armed conflict between states, governments, societies, or paramilitary groups such as mercenaries, insurgents and militias. It is generally characterised by extreme violence, destruction and mortality, using regular or irregular military forces.

“The world is in a turmoil; there are wars everywhere. We have wars which are precursors to intense armed conflicts and those are the wars we have to purposely work against to prevent large-scale armed confrontations in our society,” he added.

He lamented that the absence of peace in Nigeria is making more and more people, especially the youth, to rely on hard drugs to feel good and the act facilitates violence and war.

“I believe that any society that wants to prevent war and maintain peace would have to systematically build a purposive Peace Education for the society. It must be in the form of purposive formal and non-formal peace education for all,” he noted.

Also at the lecture, Adebayo Olowo-Ake said the gradual reversal of democracy in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has triggered violence, internal displacement and illegal migration. He lamented that the gains of the 2000s when ECOWAS countries reversed military regimes and other unconstitutional changes of power appear to be fizzling out.

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