peace education

Peace Education as a Means to Countering Violent Extremism

Peace education and its entirety on how they influence the environment

UNICEF defines peace education as “the process of promoting the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values needed to bring about behavior changes that will enable children, youth, and adults to prevent conflict and violence, both overt and structural; to resolve conflict peacefully; and to create the conditions conducive to peace, whether at an intrapersonal, interpersonal, intergroup,
national or international level” (Fountain 1999).

The definition of peace education above by UNICEF expresses the importance of peace education in a modern world of violence, destruction, and death. Within the space of 120 years or thereabouts, the world has witnessed horrendous catastrophe, violence, and organized death.

To mention but a few, some of the most catastrophic calamities done by the human race include World War 1 and 2, the American Civil War, the Biafra war, the Rwandan genocide of 1994, the 9/11 attack, the series of terrorist attacks by the Al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, and other Islamist terrorist groups. A few of the factors responsible for all of this extreme violence are hatred, ideological, and religious differences.

People learn every ideology, opinion, belief, and idea they hold onto in one way or another. It is difficult to keep track of the kind of knowledge people into, but one thing we can do is constantly teach peace education as a way of neutralizing whatever negative ideas that might be growing through such knowledge.

Peace education is the best and most effective means of countering violent extremism. When people hold strongly and opinionatedly to the ideologies and beliefs they believe are superior, there is no telling what they can do. Having a strong conviction about what one believes strongly in could lead to several fanatic and irrational actions. This is the reason why peace education is important. It stands as a gadfly against every ideology, belief, and conviction that might lead to violent extremism.

UNICEF’s definition asserts that peace education is a needed system of “promoting the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values” that will lead children, youth, and adults into the right path of peaceful co-existence. One of the platforms that bring people from cultural, religious, and political backgrounds and ideologies together is the school. Schools, as a place of learning, are the best and perfect place to teach peace education. If the values of peace education are taught to children in their formative years, it will help dissuade any violent extremism that might have started growing within them.

The importance of peace education cannot be overemphasized as the world continues to experience growing instances of hatred and difference amongst the human race. There is a need to constantly teach and emphasize the significance and importance of love, tolerance, accommodation, and indulgence. Adolf Hitler had a rough childhood. He suffered abuse from his father and was recalcitrant to his teachers.

At a very young age, Hitler began to develop and uphold German nationalist principles. It was at this age he began to nurse anti-Semitic beliefs and ideologies. Like Hitler, most of the Islamic terrorists in the world today, have undergone some form of indoctrination that makes them believe their religious inclinations are superior to others. This belief makes them subject themselves to all forms of suicidal actions.

It is, therefore, the collective responsibility of us all as humans and the duty of the government and the educational system of every society to inculcate peace education into the school syllabuses as it is the best and most effective way of countering violent extremism, especially amongst children before they grow wild. There is no better way to correct violent extremism than a continual emphasis on the values, essence, and significance of peace, respect, love, co-existence, and understanding, through education.

This article was written by Noah O̩ládélé, A prolific content writer with TYLC.

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