Education International
Education International

International Day of Peace highlights education for peace

published 20 September 2012 updated 20 September 2012

EI will celebrate the International Day of Peace on 21 September. On this occasion, it will reaffirm that human rights are at the heart of the peace.

It will also honour all teachers and education staff that contribute to the teaching of values, practices and perspectives to build a caring, fair and inclusive learning community: those working in environments free of of war or conflict, and particularly those affected by conflict situations or climate of insecurity.

Human rights are at the heart of peace

“On the International Day of Peace, EI wishes to stress the importance of peace education in the world today,” said EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen. “Peace education or education for peace should not be considered solely in the context of lack of conflict or the absence of war or conflict, but in solidarity. Peace cannot exist without freedom, justice and democracy, all human rights, tolerance and solidarity.”

He emphasised that “teachers play a key role in the preparations of students as responsible citizens by teaching human rights, therefore building a culture of peace. Teachers also play an enormously role in healing war-torn communities.”

Education unions, van Leeuwen said, can play a key role in the transformation towards a culture of peace based on human rights principles. This peace culture rejects violence and focuses its efforts towards preventing conflicts by tackling their root and solving problems through dialogue and negotiation.

Right to free, quality public education to be guaranteed by Governments

Education unions  evidences on  how discrimination and human rights abuses precipitate conflicts between communities, but also how corruption undermines democracy and the rule of law in too many countries.

Education unions must hold national governments and international institutions accountable for their commitments, particularly related to human rights and the right to education for all, particularly girls, children in difficult circumstances -including those affected by war- and those belonging to indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities and migrants communities.

Governments caring about ordinary people make a difference, ensuring the unity, justice and peace in the future for their countries. The current process towards the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals and Education for All, the Global Partnership for Education and the United Nations (UN) General Secretary’s recently launched Global Initiative on Education offer as much opportunities to define governmental obligations to make education free and compulsory as a human right for all.

The conflicting legal status for education are not bringing peace to educational institutions, since one mandate the state provision of education while the other legitimises the sale and purchase of educational services. Equally, durable peace and development cannot take root without ensuring that structures and institutions needed to protect human rights are in place at every societal level.

Today, EI reminds Governments worldwide of their obligations to invest in public education, to respect educators and children’s rights by providing adequate resources and equal educational opportunities for all girls and boys. It is the aim of its Education in Crisis campaign [http://www.educationincrisis.net/]

EI fights for human rights and against racism and exclusion

EI Resolution on Education for Peace, adopted by the 4th EI World Congress in 2004, “pledged to promote education for peace and intercultural learning as the best antidote to racist and fundamentalist phenomena in order to prevent social conflict and the recourse to social violence.”

The EI Resolution on Peace and an End to Violence adopted at the 5th EI Word Congress in 2007, calls upon the governments and armed groups involved to follow the path of dialogue in order to put an end to the violence affecting their countries. It also promotes training programmes for peaceful coexistence and the exercise of democracy and citizenship, and urges EI affiliates to redouble their efforts, along with the organisations of civil society, in favour of the peaceful resolution of conflicts.

Schools must be safe sanctuaries

Unfortunately, the number of schools and universities being attacked by rebels, armed forces or repressive regimes is rising with detrimental effects on learners and teachers. In 2009, EI adopted a Declaration “Schools Shall be Safe Sanctuaries” demanding that schools be respected and protected as zones of peace to ensure the best possible situation for teaching and learning. It is incumbent upon Governments and the international community to take action designed to prevent violence in schools and to facilitate an atmosphere where children can learn and teachers can perform their job in a positive, healthy and safe setting.

The 2007 EI Resolution on peace and an end to violence is available here, and the 2004 EI Resolution on Education for Peace can be downloaded here

The 2009 EI Declaration “Schools Shall be Safe Sanctuaries” can be read in its entirety here

To know more about the International Day of Peace and Peace education, please click here