… EDUCATION FOR PEACE …
Abstract from the thesis of Priya Darshini Baligadoo at Nottingham University
This thesis explores young boys’ and girls’ perceptions and experiences of their schooling in the small island developing state of Mauritius. It brings to the forefront problems related to cultural and structural violence that can hamper a peaceful schooling in three state secondary schools: a single-sex girls’ school, a single-sex boys’ school and a mixed school which also promote the educational theories of M.K. Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore. The findings reveal that there can be a ‘fideistic’ attitude to Gandhi and Tagore in this context, which highlight the need for a critical peace education that question taken-for-granted assumptions. It also shows that in schools, problems can be hidden and not discussed.
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The methodology was based on a participatory worldview that asserts the importance of a ‘holistic inquiry’ and learning from the ‘Other’ for peaceful coexistence. In this regard, there can be serious ethical challenges for a ‘native’ researcher to conduct participatory research with young people in a small-connected community like Mauritius.
The research also brings together various philosophies of education and peace for the promotion of peace education. It builds on commonalities from the East and West to highlight the importance of the ‘holistic’ in peace education. It promotes the concept of ‘wholeness’ as much emphasised in the East. The research was informed by M.K. Gandhi’s, Rabindranath Tagore’s and Maria Montessori’s educational theories for peace. It was also gender-sensitive and promoted a ‘peace-focused-feminism’, which is grounded in the Eastern philosophies of ‘Yin’ and ‘Yang’, ‘Shakti’ and ‘Shiva’ and ‘Prakriti’ and ‘Purusha’.
[Editor’s note: The full thesis is available from the University by requesting here.]