Education is often viewed as the key to uniting nations, bringing human beings closely together. But in some parts of the world, situations of violent conflicts and war make it hard to recognize the crucial role of education that can contribute to building a culture of peace. For example, the displacement of millions of Syrian children has left education in crisis across host countries like Lebanon and Turkey. While each of these countries officially allow Syrian children access to a formal education, barriers still remain.
Therefore, continuous investment in these countries’ education system remains a vital component so that the quality of education does not fall backwards. While allowing the child as an individual to be culturally grounded, the right to education will also convey a sense of belonging and purpose of life. Professor Katarina Tomasevski, a former Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education stated that one of the four essential inter-related obligations for states when implementing the right to education – is to ensure that educational establishments are available to all school-aged children, with adequate infrastructure, trained teachers and teaching-learning facilities.
The Malala Fund in collaboration with Kayany Foundation is one of the many great example that works towards the goal of supporting local education projects such as the recently built school in Lebanon. The new school is expected to welcome up to 200 girls from ages 14 to 18. This is Malala’s call for world leaders to invest in education - #booksnotbullets. The access to schools for these Syrian children, gives them the opportunity to continue their education in a safe and friendly environment with the hope that while the fighting may continue, these children’s futures remain protected.
We can note that there is a strong relationship between literacy and peace. In Transforming Education for Peace by author Lin et.al (2008) reiterates that “education, being in the business of constructing new human beings, molds students’ mind and soul”. Literacy ensures development, peace and democracy. Literacy provides youth and adults basic skills they need to live with harmony in a society (UNESCO, 2012). According to the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, literacy is considered so fundamentally important to global society that it is considered a universal human right. Even though the purpose of education may not be spelled out explicitly in the Human Rights conventions, it does state that education is to be directed to the development of the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to his or her fullest potential. This can also translate to conveying values that will foster a child’s individual development, such as self-confidence, self-esteem, self-awareness and dignity.
Furthermore, implementing the right to education will also further other human rights, such as freedom of thought and expression that can be nurtured through education. The fact is, the world should be wary of any one-pronged approach. Education by itself does not lead directly to peace. We need to consider the content and the process of education. Just as former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan believes that literacy, in short, is a prerequisite for peace - literacy can indeed be an essential process to the development and health of individuals, communities and countries.
"Hi, I'm Rev, 24 years old and a Master's student at Murdoch University, Western Australia. My hobbies include writing and baking of all sorts! Education has always played an important role in my life and B.O.B works towards that same goal of raising awareness and funds for the education of children in refugee camps. You get to work alongside selfless people that share the same perspective