Globally several soldiers die due to wars and conflicts. The families of the soldiers undergo mental agony and trauma, and the respective nations lose their precious human resources and productivity. Hence, there is an urgent need to emphasize peace education globally to avert conflicts and wars; and to promote peace and prosperity.
The United Nations observes International Day of Peace every year on September 21, 2013. For the first time in 2013, it exclusively dedicated the year to education. Hague Appeal for Peace Global Campaign for Peace Education declares, “A culture of peace will be achieved when citizens of the world understand global problems, have the skills to resolve conflicts and struggle for justice non-violently, live by international standards of human rights and equity, appreciate cultural diversity, and respect the Earth and each other. Such learning can only be achieved with systematic education for peace.”
Peace education can be defined as the process of acquiring education emphasizing human values, principles, ethics, and etiquette. It emphasizes humanity and respects dignity and diversity by looking at similarities, not differences.
Research shows that seven soldiers commit suicide in America every day. Over 100 military personnel commit suicide every year in India. Depression is taking over the world. Stress in soldiers is at an alarming rate, and there is an urgent need for peace education with an emphasis on spiritualism. It is essential to offer counseling sessions and conduct yoga, meditation, and equip them with soft skills to enhance their morale.
Importance of Peace Education
The way the world needs moral education and character education, the world needs peace education currently. It must start from the primary education level to enable children to understand and adopt it. Educational institutions must emphasize developing the right attitude through peace education. They must highlight the problems and costs involved in conflicts and violence. Apart from life skills and soft skills, children must be taught on peace education from the primary education level itself. They must be taught on diversity and dignity. There are innumerable advantages of imparting peace education. It avoids conflicts and eliminates violence. It shuns violence. It resolves conflicts amicably. It encourages fraternity and camaraderie to live people with amity and goodwill.
Course Curriculum for Peace Education
Here is the course curriculum on peace education which can be customized as per the local and global needs: An ideal peace education can be divided into three categories―knowledge, skills, and attitudes. The following topics can be considered under the category of knowledge―awareness of own needs, self-awareness, understanding nature of conflict and peace, ability to identify causes of conflict, and non-violent means of resolution, conflict analysis, enhancing knowledge of community, mechanisms for building peace and resolving conflict, mediation process, understanding of rights and responsibilities, understanding interdependence between individuals and societies, awareness of cultural heritage, and recognition of prejudice.
The following topics can be considered under the category of skills―communication, active listening, self-expression, paraphrasing, reframing, assertiveness, ability to cooperate, affirmation, critical thinking, ability to think critically about prejudice, ability to deal with stereotypes, dealing with emotions, problem-solving, ability to generate alternative solutions, constructive conflict resolution, conflict prevention, participation in society on behalf of peace, and ability to live with change.
The following topics can be considered under the category of attitudes―self-respect, positive self-image, strong self-concept, tolerance, acceptance of others, respect for differences, respect for rights and responsibilities of children and parents, bias awareness, gender equity, empathy, reconciliation, solidarity, social responsibility, sense of justice and equality, and joy in living.
Make Peace Education a Philosophy
The need of the hour is to impart peace education globally. The nations must invest a significant amount of money, time and resources on peace education rather than on prison education. In fact, lots of money is spent on prisons than on peace currently. Wars result in increased taxes. The world cannot afford nuclear wars and the Third World War. Peace is the only way to ensure global stability and prosperity. It requires support from all stakeholders including parents, educators, educational institutions, NGOs, government and global society to ensure global stability and prosperity. To conclude, impart peace education and make peace education a philosophy to build a better world.