A Nigerian activist for peace education in schools, Hajiya Ramatu Tijjani, has advocated for strengthening of peace & unity among students so they could become peace-makers, and not warriors, in their assorted communities.
The Peace Ambassador has also stressed the need for the introduction of peace education from primary, secondary and tertiary institutes across the 36 states in the country, with the sole aims of allowing children becoming peace advocates, and future peace ambassadors through promoting peace education from their classrooms down to their various community levels.
Ambassador Tijani, in an interview with the journalists in Kaduna shortly after paying courtesy visit to a community school, pointed out that the significant of peace education in Nigerian schools to the student cannot be overemphasized, because peace education helps children and young people towards developing their own skills and understanding each other as a way to be good peace-makers.
“Peace education refers to the process of acquiring values, knowledge, and develop attitude, skills and behavior to live in harmony with oneself, others and natural environment.
The overall goal of the peace education is by no doubt to promote peaceful co-existence among learners, better understanding; hence contributing to peace and national cohesion in the country; and this is mainly achieved through equipping members of the school community with sound knowledge, skills, and attitudes for managing conflict, riot, crisis and demonstration without resorting to violence or any cause of alarm,” she said.
According to her, peace education is a structured, multi-disciplinary program that is designed to develop a child’s self-expression and critical thinking through “Seven-key” pillars: debating, human rights awareness, peace building, advocacy, leadership and learning to tolerate and accommodate each other, in order to live in peace and harmony with everyone, irrespective of differences in ethno-religious, political and regional.
The activist says “Peace education helps children and young people discover the wonder and beauty within themselves, nurturing inner peace; and it also supports the development of attitudes, values and skills needed to respond to conflict creatively, encouraging inter-personal peace and unity among students of different faith base and, at the same time, encourages children to examine the root causes of violence and war and explore the possibilities for building peace at community, national and international levels through collective responsibility.
“Peace Education programs in the world are centered on conflict resolution and typically focus on the social-behavioral symptoms of conflict, by training individuals to resolve inter-personal disputes through techniques of negotiation and (peer) mediation, and teaching one how to manage anger through the spirit of “fight fair,” the statement added.
“It also improves communication through skills such as listening, turn-taking, identifying needs, and separating facts from emotions that constitute the main elements of these programs. Participants are also encouraged to take responsibility for their actions and to brainstorm together on compromises.
“The calls for Peace education to all schools in Nigeria should be included and extended to all learners, irrespective of the situation they find themselves in, including refugee and migrant children, children from minorities and disabled, with the objective of promoting equal opportunities through education and the spread of peace messages.
“There is also the need to create peace clubs in both primary and secondary schools throughout the schools in the country so as to enable students to start learning working together, loving one another, and becoming the future peace ambassadors and peacemakers in the country. “
Tijani suggested various ways through which the federal ministry of education, community organizations, wealthy individuals and volunteer teachers would assist students and also focus on providing attractive working conditions, including small class sizes, career paths and more opportunities for professional growth and development, financial and other incentives, and support systems for new teachers – such as mentoring programs – in promoting peace ideas and messages to the young ones.