The Role of Education in Peacebuilding: The case of Sierra Leone


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Presentation entitled 'The Role of Education in Peacebuilding: the case of Sierra Leone' given by Christine Smith Ellison at the 11th UKFIET International Conference on Education and Development, Oxford, England (13-15 September 2011) and the 56th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES): The Worldwide Education Revolution, San Juan, Puerto Rico (24 April 2012).

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The Role of Education in Peacebuilding: The case of Sierra Leone

  1. 1. The role of education in peacebuilding: the case of Sierra Leone
  2. 2. Education in Peacebuilding Global Monitoring Report
  3. 3. Sierra Leone
  4. 4. Drivers of conflict
  5. 5. Rationale 1Education Protects Children ‘Quality education provides physical, psychosocial and cognitive protection’ (INEE 2011)
  6. 6. Rapid Response EducationProgramme (RREP) Six-month programme for those children ‘most affected’ Six Modules - Literacy - Religious Moral Education - Numeracy - Physical Health Education - Trauma Healing - Peace and Human Rights 13529 children completed the programme between 1999-2002
  7. 7. Challenges Schools not necessarily a ‘safe place’ Non-evidence based programming
  8. 8. Rationale 2Training Provides Routes Other ThanViolence‘Through disarmament and demobilization, theprocess is meant to remove weapons – and waritself – as a means of livelihood and, through thereintegration process, to replace these livelihoodswith ones that contribute to stability, peace andgrowth’ (Paulson 2009: 836)
  9. 9. DDR Occurred in three phases between 1998-2002 76000 combatants disarmed
  10. 10. Challenges Potential for the re-creation of grievances through unfulfilled promises Assumes economically driven root to conflict; does not resolve social injustices or grievances
  11. 11. Rationale 3Education Re-establishes Normality ‘Education can help children return to a sense of stability, normality and confidence’ (INEE 2010) ‘Formal education has a particular symbolic significance for many communities that helps to restore faith in the state’ (Comic Relief 2011)
  12. 12. SABABU School Rehabilitation Project (2003-2007) Two Components: • Achieve basic operational levels in at least 50% of schools in target districts • Enhance institutional capacity of MEST Funds provided to Service Providers to contract local builders
  13. 13. Challenges NGO/INGO ‘Branding’ Return to normality; a return to the pre-conditions for war?
  14. 14. Rationale 4: strand 1Education Helps Make Up Lost Ground ‘Where the opportunity of education has been lost due to conflict, it is not just a loss to the individual, but a loss of social capital and the capacity of a society to recover from the conflict’ (Smith 2010)
  15. 15. Rationale 4 : strand 2Education Helps Make Up Lost Ground• A more educated population is a more peaceful one: • ‘As educated people have more to lose economically, they are less likely to risk death or imprisonment by taking part in war’ (Collier 2000) • Education can inculcate an ability to critically analyse information, leaving people less open to manipulation by rebel leaders.
  16. 16. Complimentary RapidEducation for Primary Schools(CREPS) ALP aimed at increasing access to the formal system Allows children (age 10-14) to finish schooling in 3 years instead of 6 Follow curriculum of core subjects most essential to passing NPSE
  17. 17. Challenges Parallel/Competitive system Education limited to literacy/numeracy If changes are not made at a sustainable rate then we are simply recreating pre-conditions of war, this time at a faster rate and on a broader scale
  18. 18. Rationale 5Education Contributes to SocialTransformation‘Cultivating an ‘‘infrastructure for peace’’ means thatwe are not merely interested in ‘‘ending’’ somethingthat is not desired. We are oriented toward thebuilding of relationships that in their totality form newpatterns, processes and structures’ (Lederach 1997)Through, for example, inclusionary reforms to thesystem itself and the values it transmits as a meansof socialization, education can transform powerrelations and tackle social injustices
  19. 19. Emerging Issues (EI) A course aimed at tackling a number of social issues deemed important to Sierra Leone and its development: - Human Rights - Civics and Democracy - Gender - Health and Environment - Principles of Pedagogy
  20. 20. Three versions Required course unit for each year of three year full time pre-service teacher training course Integrated into three year Distance Education Programme Four-week intensive in-service training for qualified teachers
  21. 21. Challenges Skewing of priorities Social transformation through curriculum rather than education policy, for example, decentralisation.
  22. 22. Conclusions The International Community is not learning lessons regarding impact International organisations are pushing their own agendas rather than responding to local needs Is there a genuine commitment to conflict transformation through peacebuilding?