ADDIS ABABA (HAN) July 4.2016. Public Diplomacy & Regional Security News. OPINION By Yared Gebremeden. Broadly speaking education is the most significant tool and key to solving personal, national and global problems. It is especially significant in building peace ,peacefulness and capability . At a personal level, education has a power to shape the behavior of an individual. Now, many countries agree that every school-age child should get access to education in the nearest locality as possible. But, still many children across the world are denied of such access. Education is a fundamental human right . Hence no one on earth should be stripped off this key input for personal development. Many children and women in Africa are denied for the right for education due to the prevailing war, crisis and instability in the continent for centuries. Such problems still occur in some parts of Africa.
According to the latest reports from the Ministry of Education (MOE), some 230 million people around the globe and half of school age children still suffer from failing to get proper education as they live in countries that are affected by wars, crisis and instabilities. Education should be a birth right that should be given focal attention by all countries of the world as it is a means of addressing poverty as well as securing peace and sustainable development averting instability.
It is a clearly known fact that Education plays a significant role in securing the rights of citizens by ensuring equity and justice. That in turn contributes the biggest share to the overall economic development in the country.
Ensuring equitable access in education is key in addressing the root causes of conflict and instability in the world and particularly in Africa. It has been often said that education is a powerful contributor towards building peace as it creates a crucial link between humanitarian and long-term developments in a bid to develop the right conditions for social cohesion and community resilience.
Member states of the African Union are now turning their attention to inclusive, equitable and innovative education , advocacy programs, peace-building, policies and programs in an effort to advance sustainable peace and development across the continent.
The government of Ethiopia has a clear pro-poor growth strategy focused around guaranteeing full access to basic social services and infrastructures. MOE has identified peace building, equity, equality, quality, early childhood care and education (ECCE) as well as improved learning outcomes as key components of its current Education Sector Development Plan (ESDP-V), MOE reports.
It has been reported by the ministry that over 27 million Ethiopian children are now attending education across the country in more than 37, 000 schools. And the number of teachers have currently increased to 530,000 from what it was 82,000, twenty and five years ago.
According to UNICEF more than 327 million Children in Sub-Saharan Africa live in fragile contexts with the majority of the estimated 29 million primary school aged children out of school in fragile settings and are particularly at risk of conflict.
Education can catalyze social and political transformations to ensure peace in Africa and will support to achieving Sustainable Development Goals. And access to quality education can minimize inequalities or grievances among conflict-affected communities, and it can strengthen skills, attitudes and values that support peace.
Member states of the African Union are working towards thriving a better Africa through better education strategies included under Agenda 2063. And the continent has envisioned in its 2020 “all guns will be silent and a culture of peace and tolerance would be nurtured in Africa’s children and youth psyche through peace.”. The African Union Commission is working towards that vision to meet the deadline. Silencing the guns in the continent and establishing peace, stability and sustainable growth is mainly a matter of effectively implementing proper education and using education for peace.
Human capital, creating a friendly environment for African people, policies, issues of equality, equity in education, and more importantly promoting education for peace through avoiding conflicts in the continent are the areas that member states of the continent should accord due consideration through investing a huge capital on the continent’s youths. Making education the central issue and giving priority to peace education in all schools is something that needs to be re-considered.
It was with this and other related issues in mind that the Federal Government of Ethiopia and the University of Bradford has co-organized a two days long conference here in Addis Ababa from 23rd -24th June 2016 under the theme “Global Education for Peace in Africa”. The moment was also an opportunity to celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Africa Regional Conference and the Golden jubilee of the establishment of the University of Bradford of the United Kingdom.
Senior government officials of Ethiopia, the nations alumni from different universities, and alumni from the university of Bradford, concerned officials from the continent, stakeholders and important actors of the sector were in attendance in the conference.
Deputy Premier of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Demeke Mekonnen at the opening of the conference stressed that the issue of peace and education are pressing issues for the over all development of Africa explaining the fact that Ethiopia is working towards peace building at regional and international levels beyond the national priorities and endeavors.
“Global Education For Peace” is not only relevant but timely because peace is the most important value and pressing issue in Africa and without its development, security, economic growth and sociopolitical progresses as well as democratic consolidations are simply unthinkable at all, he noted.
The country has established strong partnerships with different organizations such as the university of Bradford. And it has established the first ever horn of Africa regional research and capacity building Institute: For Peace and Security Studies at Addis Ababa, he cited an instance.
Vice-Chancellor, University of Bradford, Professor Brain Cantor on his part said that Africa should work towards institutionalizing peace through education in the continent by integrating peace in the education system in a bid to secure sustainable development and prosperity.
British Ambassador to Ethiopia, Ambassador Susane Moorehead, said on her part that Bradford is the first British University established for peace study on giving emphasis to peace building and development as a critical agenda in the world today. And the university has contributed a lot to peace building across the world.
According to the Ambassador Britain is keen to work with countries in Africa and Ethiopia on building peace through education.
Education for peace trends of countries like Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Nigeria were presented and discussed during the conference.
According to the information from the African Union commission, peace and education are the most powerful tools that should be wisely used across Africa to secure development and make a prosperous continent.
Education for Peace (EFP) creates a civilization of peace by assisting individuals, families, schools, communities and groups to prevent conflict, strengthen inter-group cooperation and apply the principles of unity-in-diversity, equality and justice.
Global initiative for building a culture of peace through education and youth empowerment is one concern area of the UNESCO, many organizations and governments in the world. All of them have commonly aimed at promoting a culture of peace and non violence through education at global and regional levels. The initiative has offered a framework for designing strategic actions to improve the capacity of relevant actors to respond to challenges for building peaceful and inclusive societies.
Finally, I would like to sum up my point saying that education is a silent weapon to silence all the guns in the world. Hence, counties across the world should use this maximum potential and tool to build a peaceful world in general and a peaceful Africa in particular.