Education and Peacebuilding
Education plays a key role in the prevention and transformation of violent conflicts. As “social policy” and a locus for socialisation, education policy and institutions substantially influence the development and shaping of identities and behaviour. The quantity and quality of the available educational offers are among the factors which help to determine whether conflicts escalate into violence or whether they can be transformed and managed in a non-violent manner.
Utilising education constructively for the prevention and transformation of violent conflicts is an important issue for development-oriented peace work. However, education can only fulfil its potential in this context if its contributions to peacebuilding are embedded in systematic and conflict-sensitive development cooperation.
Over the last 10 years, knowledge about the potentially negative impacts of education on (violent) conflict and conflict dynamics has increased. International and national debates have begun to focus more intensively on the conflict – education – peacebuilding/prevention nexus. One example is UNESCO’s 2011 EFA Global Monitoring Report, entitled The Hidden Crisis: Armed Conflict and Education. And yet despite its importance, education has so far played a secondary role in the debates about peacebuilding and state-building. At the same time, the importance of prevention and peacebuilding is still receiving too little attention in the development education discourse. Principles such as “do no harm” and conflict sensitivity are not adequately embedded in practice.
The following aspects are therefore among the key challenges arising in relation to the provision of sustainable support for social transformation processes:
- Strengthening dialogue and cooperation between governmental and civil society actors involved in peacebuilding and education (formal and non-formal).
- Implementation of guidelines and standards at the interface between education and peacebuilding.
- Further development of realistic and context-specific rationales and theories of change, as well as innovative impact monitoring methods.
- Further development of systematic educational methodologies (linking formal and non-formal education at various levels, as well as stronger linkage between various education sectors) as part of a holistic understanding of education.
- More conceptual rigour in peace education, and the incorporation of peace education methodologies into mainstream education for the formation of identities and values.
- Considering and integrating strategies and perspectives from the Global south.
Against this background, FriEnt aims to support and promote dialogue and exchange between governmental and civil society organisations working on education and peacebuilding in conflict contexts, with a focus on lessons learned, challenges and potentials. FriEnt will therefore address the challenges identified and discuss them with a range of actors engaged in practical education and peacebuilding.