Peace is not just a two-period a week subject – Prajnya Teachers for Peace Training (India)

(Reposted from: The New Indian Express.  December 30, 2017)

By Roshne Balasubramanian

CHENNAI: In the wake of alarming incidents that have threatened the holistic peace in the country and across the world, Prajnya, a Chennai-based NGO has flagged a two-day workshop — ‘Prajnya Teachers for Peace Training’. “In 2005, National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) came up with a National Curriculum Framework (NCF) which says that peace education is a ‘concern cutting across the curriculum and is the concern of all teachers’,” says Swarna Rajagopalan, MD, Prajnya Trust.

Accordingly, schools and teachers are required to integrate peace education across the curriculum and extracurricular activities. “No matter what the teacher has taught, the value of peace education — be it acceptance, inclusivity and sensitivity should be integrated into curricula everywhere. For instance, if you have a math problem, instead of Raja and Jhony, it can be Raja and Lilly. So, inclusivity in everything — modeling and language, gender inclusivity and communal inclusivity are to be a part of the curriculum,” she shares.

No matter what the teacher has taught, the value of peace education — be it acceptance, inclusivity and sensitivity should be integrated into curricula everywhere.

The idea is not just to teach peace as a ‘two-period a week’ subject. It’s to include the values in everything a teacher shares. But sadly, this practice hasn’t taken off. “It has been hard to implement it in schools. With a minimum classroom strength of 35 and a maximum of 70, multiple divisions and exam pressure, the focus has not fallen on peace education,” elucidates Swarna.

With these short training workshops, Prajnya is trying to give teachers a broad idea of how peace education can be integrated. The two-day training will introduce participants to peace education and the NCF recommendations, facilitate an introspective exploration of what teachers bring into classroom, their communication practices, and values for an inclusive classroom and society; provide the opportunity to identify and design class plans with peace education principles and include a practice and peer mentoring component. “We will have Priyadarshini Rajagopalan, a peace educator-come-teacher and Chintan Girish Modi, another renowned peace activist to facilitate the workshop,” she says.

The idea is not just to teach peace as a ‘two-period a week’ subject. It’s to include the values in everything a teacher shares. But sadly, this practice hasn’t taken off.

While the workshop is being conducted in Chennai, it’s not confined to the city. “If anyone from Sriperumbudur, Pondicherry or Kanchipuram want to enroll for the workshop, they are welcome as well. We are looking for teachers from different spectra to join us. Even if one person from a school joins us, it goes back to the school in some way,” she shares.

The workshop will take place once in three months and will be scheduled after assessing  the optimal time for the participants. “As adults, we are losing perspective on how we perceive the world and about asking the right questions. So, what are we teaching our children? This has to be addressed,” she adds.

The workshop will take place on Jan 4&5 at Alwarpet, from 9 am onwards. To register, mail: Peace.prajnya@gmail.com
(last date is Jan 1)

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