Education for conflict prevention and peacebuilding: Meeting the global challenges of the 21st century

by Phyllis Kotite

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Conflicts can have devastating effects on education systems and impair the ability of governments to provide quality education for their citizens. Yet, when governments and ministries of education analyse and anticipate the risk of such events through careful planning, education can play an important role in preventing violent conflict, and in supporting peacebuilding efforts.

The paper describes a range of conflict prevention initiatives and examines the role of policy-makers, youth, women, and the media in maintaining and restoring peace as part of a holistic vision of education. International institutions, governments and civil society are increasingly developing confl ict prevention mechanisms and utilizing political and economic incentives to avoid conflicts. The paper argues that educational planning must go beyond traditional mechanisms and take into consideration the unpredictable nature of our times, be flexible and rapid in implementation and responsive to local needs.

Training and research in sustainable development; and skills for peaceful relations, good governance, the prevention of confl ict and peacebuilding are among the priorities elaborated in the paper. In addition, specific recommendations are highlighted such as: capacity development for conflict prevention within the education sector and other ministries, analysing the root causes of conflict and the role that education can play in mitigating tensions.

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