UNESCO Rallies Teacher Trainers to champion Peace Education and Prevent Violent Extremism in Teacher Education

Schools can be hubs for peace building in the communities where they are situated and the role of education in peace and resilience building remains very critical because it plays a transformative role.

(Reposted from: UNESCO.  August 22, 2022)

The Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) in Uganda is implementing the Peace Education and Prevention of Violent Extremism project with support from UNESCO’s International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA) titled, “Youth Empowerment for Peace and Resilience Building and Prevention of Violent Extremism in African Countries through Teacher Development”. This project has been supported by the Government of Japan to support the infusion of peace education in teacher education, train teachers and teacher educators to nurture young people to become agents of peace and to make schools safe learning environments.

In pursuance of the above, a one-day workshop was organized for stakeholder engagement in Kampala on July 29, 2022, intended to share experiences on peace education and prevention of violent extremism in selected teacher training institutions in Uganda, drawing over 40 participants. The workshop was intended to;

  • disseminate the baseline results of a study on peace education and prevention of violent extremism in selected teacher training institutions
  • discuss the proposed workplan on mainstreaming peace education and prevention of violent extremism by Muni University and Muni NTC, and
  • share experiences of peace education and prevention of violent extremism in teacher education

This initiative is relevant in the context that the Horn of Africa region where Uganda lies suffers much from ongoing and violent conflicts caused by a variety of factors that has resulted in immense suffering and destructions to both properties and lives. Some of these conflicts have stemmed from skirmish over resources, ethnic-identify stereotyping, marginalization, exclusion and acts of violent extremism, with many of these manifestations still evident and present in this day and age. The guide on transformative pedagogy for peace building (an innovative pedagogical approach that empowers learners to critically examine their attitude and beliefs) developed by UNESCO IICBA therefore provides an anchor for this intervention.

The teaching profession is one which can transform all other professions and you therefore have an extra responsibility to play as agents of peace and role models to younger generation.

The Chief Guest at the workshop Ms. Annet Kajura, the Assistant Commissioner TETD at MoES advised the teacher trainers to be role models and messengers of peace. She revealed that, “the teaching profession is one which can transform all other professions and you therefore have an extra responsibility to play as agents of peace and role models to younger generation.”

Mr. Charles Draecabo the National Projects Coordinator in his address to the teacher educators emphasized the need to integrate the promising practices documented in the report and use it to model program content that promote peace in the minds of learners. Mr. Draecabo added, “without peace, any efforts that you would like to do, will be in futility.”

(Photo: ©UNESCO/Vincent Ogal)

Ms Victoria Kisaakye, the Senior Programmes Coordinator for Capacity Development for Education at IICBA in her remarks highlighted that the Institute focuses on improving the quality of learners through effective teaching in an environment that fosters peace. She stated that, “schools can be hubs for peace building in the communities where they are situated and the role of education in peace and resilience building remains very critical because it plays a transformative role.” She together with Ms Eyerusalem Azmeraw, shared several training materials developed by IICBA and introduced a virtual campus on peace education for teacher educators that want to undertake an online course.

The workshop recommended the need to scale up the training on the prevention of violence to all the teacher training institutions and universities as well as developing a module targeting teacher educators’ personal wellbeing and Psychosocial support where they are facing challenges that are impacting on their lives. The other request will be for UNESCO to support more youth-based training for university students to prevent violence in the colleges that has become rampant.

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