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Peace education to be part of curriculum

MOMBASA, Kenya, Sept 16 – African education ministers from nations that have been hit by conflicts have resolved to incorporate peace education as a key component of the curriculum.

Backed by education specialists the ministers on Wednesday said they had agreed to add to the curriculum a “dimension specifically aimed at eradicating violence and promoting love among people.”

The ministers from seven countries decided to deliberately push the cohesion agenda so as to instill in the learners the culture of unity as a plan to rescue the divided societies of their countries.

“Education as a foundation for development and as an instrument for fostering a culture of peace, should go beyond the acquisition of knowledge and skills to seek transformation of hearts and minds and enable human beings live in harmony,” a joint communiqué from the seven nations said.

The ministers and specialists have been meting in Mombasa for a three-day conference on peace education. Countries represented include Kenya, Angola, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Uganda, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The conference was called to enable countries share experiences and learn from each other.

“Education should bring learners to consider the racial, religious and cultural diversities of their societies,” the joint statement said.

Among strategies to be pursued include capacity building for peace educators, curriculum developers, trainers and learners, “to become the agents of peace.”

In the new strategy the education stakeholders will be guided by ‘African traditional values and will appreciate the ethnic, cultural and religious diversity.’

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The group stressed the need to ensure effective implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the peace education programs.

“We shall formulate and strengthen national policies and strategies,” the stakeholders agreed.

The conference has been organized by the Kenyan Education Ministry in collaboration with the Association for Development Education in Africa (ADEA), an institution that was formed by the World Bank and other donors to boost education growth in Africa. The theme for the conference was Education for fostering peace, integration and partnership.

The meeting regretted that conflict and instability compromise educational quality and achievement of the education for all millennium development goals.

To support their resolve the countries appealed to African governments to legislate against hate speech an inflammatory communication.

“The governments should work with partners and in particular the media to encourage positive messages,” the statement said

The conference was a follow-up to the 2004 ‘Mombasa Declaration’ where countries committed to utilize education systems as agents for peace building and nation building.

Addressing the conference earlier in the week Education Permanent Secretary Karega Mutahi had challenged the nations to conduct regular in-service training for teachers to help them deliver on value based education. Prof Mutahi had said that previous resolutions had failed to deliver since value based education had been academic based and exam oriented.

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