Whose Peace? Voices of power, authority and trust in education for conflict-affected areas
“Teachers are for everyone’? The everyday political economy of education and the civic power of teachers during conflict in South Sudan” by Dr Rachel Ibreck and Mr Onyango Galdine, Benjamin Dut Dut, Ajang Mabior Ajang and Alice Robinson
“Education for the displaced by the displaced: a co-creation model for education provision among displaced households in Northeast Nigeria” by Dr Kolade
“Reproducing Power through Peace Education: a case study of elite and non-elite schools in Colombia” by Mr Robert Skinner
This panel had three fascinating accounts of how teachers and schools can contribute towards making peaceful and democratic societies. Rachel Ibreck shared the findings of a collaborative research project concerning the role teachers play in conflict-affected communities in South Sudan. Despite the difficulties posed by state-neglect, poverty and the threat of violence, there was abundant evidence of teachers striving to provide employable skills as well as acting as civic role models for young people in divided communities.
Dr Kolade provided the outline of an educational model that will be used in Nigeria. Designed to counter Nigeria’s usual low returns on education and Boko Haram’s narrative of education being western-dominated, it is based on active learning and rooted in the needs of the communities it serves.
Mr Skinner explored the different perceptions of and attitudes towards peace education in two urban schools in Colombia that are geographically adjacent but from different ends of the socio-economic spectrum. He questioned whether it is possible for a unified narrative of peace to overcome these class-based divisions.
Despite the variety of contexts, there was a vibrant discussion on how education that has the purpose of unifying populations can include divisive or controversial topics such as land reform or histories of recent conflict.
Throughout each presentation and the discussion, there was also a consistent desire to understand how teacher and schools in conflict-affected areas can successfully navigate the conflicting demands that come from the state, their communities, pupils and their own sense of ethics.