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Union teachers will promote a culture of peace in the classroom
an article by Francisco Zúñiga for (Mexico)

Peace can be learned. With that premise, the teachers of Leon have initiated a program to promote values in the schools, supported by parents and intended to instill in school-children a new culture of peace that can help change the situation in which we live.

In Normal School Miguel F. Martinez white balloons are released as a symbol of peace. Photo: Franciso Zúñiga

click on photo to enlarge

Dialogue, respect, non-violence, teamwork are some of the values for parents, children, teachers and students that will be promoted in this project initiated by the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE). It is independent of the scholastic program, according to the leader of section 50, Mirna Isabel Saldívar Paz.

“We are going to appoint a responsible teacher in each school to be the peace promoter in that school, as well as a parent. They will receive training and updates in these important subjects”, she explained.

A culture of peace includes respect for human rights, respect for diversity, and non-violence, the teacher indicated.

“We will be working throughout the scholastic year. We start and finish in the month of June. The project includes meetings of children, meetings with parents, with their own teachers. We are going to concentrate on values and skill training, utilizing teamwork and community involvement”, she said.

She made it clear that the programs will not interfere with normal schoolwork, because the "peace-promoter" teachers will do their activities on Saturdays, Sundays, and during vacations.

In the presence of Secretary of Education, Jose Antonio González Treviño, the program was launched in the Normal Superior School Miguel F. Martinez. Children and teachers released hundreds of white balloons into the sky as a message of peace to the community.

(Click here for a Spanish version of this article)


Question(s) related to this article:

How do we promote a human rights, peace based education?,

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Latest reader comment:

Question: what is the relation between peace and education?

We teach the science of war on an even and equal basis with the 3Rs and we maintain it with more resources than any other school. Further, we have done this consistently for a couple of thousand years, long before education was institutionalized for all children. And we have never questioned the wisdom of teaching millions of civilians how to kill while never giving the same credence, or any for that matter, to the science of peace, the study of anti-war, of reconciliation. With this inured mindset leaders choose to fund boot camps and officer training colleges and by omission deprive youth of the better choice.

If we can teach war and violence with such commitment to suit the purposes of generals and the arms trade, where are the rest of us who have a greater need for peace and conciliation than anyone anywhere has for the killing fields? Why have civilians not demanded peace education long ago and why don't we have it now?

This report was posted on October 3, 2011.