HWPL Peace Education Development Forum in Africa
The Roles and Cooperation of Educators in the Post-Covid-19 Era
On February 6th, HWPL hosted the “HWPL Peace Education Development Forum in Africa” online for the implementation of peace education. This forum was organized to bring awareness to the importance of education in the post-Covid era and present the role of education. Those in attendance consisted of 766 people from various fields of education such as: workers from UNESCO and the Ministry of Education, college professors, principals, and teachers in addition to HWPL members.
With the prolonged closure of schools due to the pandemic situation, African students fail to receive proper education. The absence of education has led to an increase in various crimes that ignore human rights such as child and female sexual exploitation, child labor exploitation, and racial and ethnic discrimination.
In such a situation, African educators who attended the online forum discussed their roles and methods to cooperate to solve human rights issues and build sustainable peace in Africa.
Ms. Michelle Arendse, a teacher at Holy Cross Girls High School in South Africa said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has upended school life around the world. School closure, working remotely, social distancing—it’s a lot for people, especially parents and teachers, to navigate.” She also said that in such a situation, when teachers give education on HWPL’s peace values to students using various online tools, children can grow up to be the future leaders that achieve and protect peace.
The African education community chose HWPL peace education as a way to build peace in the community. Through this forum, various opinions were presented through speeches and discussions to prepare new education policies which can be implemented even in a pandemic situation.
Mr. Bartholomew Lumbasi Wanikina, the deputy director of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, said “I attended the event to gain strength from many peace messengers from all over the world for peace. Since I was young, there have been many conflicts and wars and I have seen people die. Many things were left absent without solutions for peace because nothing much was done for peace. So I thought this event would be an opportunity to get the answer for peace and convey that peace coexists with my family, neighbors, and even the local community through me. Furthermore, I attended the event with the hope that there will be more opportunities for local communities to develop through peace education and instill the values of peace that coexist in young students—not quarrels.”
Africa has been participating since four years ago in HWPL peace education in about 25 countries and has worked to train students as the citizens of peace. They are making efforts to create policies through the Ministry of Education so that peace education can be implemented in all schools and are cooperating with the National Commission for UNESCO so that peace education can be spread rapidly to more students.
After this forum, many countries in Africa signed an MOU on peace education with HWPL. They are planning to train more peace educators and implement peace education more actively. HWPL hopes that students who receive peace education become peace citizens and spread the culture of peace throughout the African community.