The West Africa Network for Peace building (WANEP) on Wednesday launched a manual titled: “Peace Education in Formal Schools of West Africa: An Implementation Guide,” to help inculcate peaceful attitude in school children.
The 56-page manual focuses on peace education as a conflict prevention method, which describes the contribution of education to peace building using activities that promote non-violent behaviour.
Professor Bocar Mousa Diarra, Malian Minister of Education in charge of promoting local languages and civil education who launched the manual, said the peace process starts at the individual level and recommended that peace education in schools should be at the centre of efforts to attain peace within the sub-region.
He said the Peace manual and models developed by WANEP should involve teachers in the peace process, stressing that peace is a behavioural issue.
Sharing examples from Mali, Prof. Diarra said the Malian crises affected about 800,000 Malian children who were displaced, adding it was an unpleasant situation for any country to experience.
He said Mali and the whole of Africa was looking up to Ghana and hope to emulate Ghana’s good example.
Mr Emmanuel Bombande, Executive Director of WANEP, said the organization recognized that when young people are informed and empowered they could become agents of change and could determine their own fate and that of their respective nations.
He said there was a growing concern that the exposure of children and young people in this region to violence had led to a pool of vulnerable youths whose world view had been shaped and influenced by a culture of intolerance, extremism and violence with implications for future stability of the region hence the urgent need for the establishment of peace education in formal schools.
Mr Bombande said it was more constructive to start peace education with children since they spend much of their formative years in school and called for the inclusion of peace education in the curriculum of schools.
Peace needs to be articulated as essential life skills that will help to create more peaceable schools and societies, Mr Bombande said, emphasizing the need to impart to the youth not only a new way of thinking but also as a new behaviour that could give them the ability to work better together.