Peace Education: Meaning and Application

The idea of "peace" has several facets. It is frequently described as a situation without antagonism, conflict, or other disturbances. It is viewed as a peaceful, harmonious condition and a non-violent existence. A relationship between people marked by respect, fairness, and benevolence is referred to as being in a state of peace. Being at peace with one's thoughts is equally relevant to one's perception of oneself. It is commonly acknowledged that peace education is a crucial component that would encourage humanity to reject violence and live in a peaceful society/world to attain this condition of peace, especially in the current conflict-ridden globe.

Peace Education

The ideals of harmony, respect, and tolerance are currently being inculcated to foster stronger interpersonal relationships. These are viewed as seeds that eventually lead to a world free from strife. According to Meyerhof, learning peaceful dialogue, tolerance, acceptance of difference, and love as the fundamental law of life are all included in peace studies. Therefore, the main benefit of peace education is that it aids in dismantling the mentality and ideologies that support the use of violence in power struggles. It fosters collaboration and problem-solving skills among individuals and groups alike.

Therefore, peace education does not teach the history of peacemaking but rather how to make peace in one's surroundings while defending the truth, justice, and survival. Additionally, it goes beyond teaching conflict resolution techniques. If one must mediate to bring about peace, one must be open to hearing other people's perceptions and points of view and alter one's viewpoints to reach an agreement, compromise, and consensus on a group level.

Institutional Support for Peace Education

The call for recommendations about Education for International Understanding, Cooperation and Peace Education about Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms issued by UNESCO in 1974 is seen as the catalyst for the realisation of the need for peace education. It tries to create peace across international borders and increase mutual respect. According to UNESCO, "education should include critical analysis of the historical and contemporary economic and political factors underpinning the contradictions and tensions between countries, together with the study of ways to overcome these contradictions, which are the real impediments to understanding, true international cooperation, and the development of world peace."

As it is intended, education addresses people's actual interests as opposed to the practice of exploitation and inciting conflict. Around the world, efforts are being made to integrate peace education into the school curriculum. Peace research and education are hot topics in many prestigious colleges, including Bradford University. Additionally, organisations like the United Nations University, the University of Peace, and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute are conducting ground-breaking research in this area. Most institutions in India dedicated to Gandhian studies or those working to propagate Gandhi's message of peace and non-violence are all making significant contributions to this field of education, and national governments and foreign organisations support such initiatives.

Additionally, some of the top educational institutions and research centres, including the National Council for Educational Research and Training, have created or are preparing peace education guides (NCERT). The United Nations named the year 2000 to be a Decade of Peace and Non-violence for Children of the World. This gained support from several peace organisations and educators, contributing to developing a Culture of Peace. As a result, the role of peace education has grown in the institutional discourses on peace and the UNESCO mandate to advance peace. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) explicitly mentions education for peace.

Peace Education in Action

As with any education, Haavelsrud (1975) proposed that peace education be performed in three areas: information, attitudes, and action. Awareness, Analysis and Action make up this process. A component of the more extensive framework aimed at societal transformation is peace education. It has undergone a positive transformation. The critical requirement in this plan is the change of the individual. The system/structure progressively changes as a result of this personal development.

In order to learn to live together, create awareness about others' struggles, analyse the issue logically, and take action with the willingness to achieve good results, both individuals and society need to join together. It is vital to remember that only a climate of non-violence allows for promoting peace education. Violence and human nature are inextricably linked. Gandhi held that by adhering steadfastly to non-violence, evil could be defeated.

However, he thought that, on the whole, all people are good. This conviction led him to publish the "Constructive Programme," a development strategy. It seeks to transform society without using violence. Like this, peace education exposes the learner to the harsh realities of a world marked by glaring discrepancies. It also helps them comprehend the everyday circumstances in which millions of their brethren live. This fosters the capacity for empathy and the willingness to improve situations. John Dewey referred to this as "global patriotism"—the desire to make the world a better place.

Education for peace is not something that can only be taught in a classroom or that is abstract. It involves ongoing learning. Peace education can start at home and progress to other levels such as school, further education institutions, the workplace, or places where related initiatives are carried out. The following considerations are crucial for efficient learning during the process −

  • Participatory and self-initiated learning should be prioritised.

  • Discussions should take the maintenance and progress of peace into consideration.

  • Creation of lessons on practical methods and world peace.

  • Dissemination of information on peace through media.

  • Dissemination of knowledge through organisations with a religious focus.

  • Spreading knowledge through social work projects.

  • Cooperation and teamwork in the educational domains.

  • Information selection and assessment.

  • Removing prejudice from conflict information.

  • Organising campaigns, giving presentations, and hosting seminars on peace.

  • Developing peace educators so they may serve all facets of society

  • Encouraging volunteers to offer educational opportunities

  • Maintaining steady motivation to advance peace.

Gandhi and Peace Education

Gandhi is more closely identified with peace and non-violence than any other famous figure in global history. Gandhi is considered essential to any peace discussion in literature, debate, or other forms of expression. His statements, speeches, publications, etc., may be used to determine the level of priority he placed on peace. Gandhi's political, social, and religious worldview was centred on peace, and he showed the world the best way to bring about world peace. Gandhi believed that the source of all ills was violence. His approach was non-violence, which is generally associated with peace and the truth.

The same may be seen in his views on education as well. His advocated principles were evident in his talks, writings, and interactions with others. Gandhi's concept of peace is based on the idea of "Ahimsa," or non-violence, which is the law of love, life, and creation, in contrast to violence, or himsa, which is the root of hatred, death, and destruction. Gandhi believed that non-violence should be the fundamental principle directing our daily actions and that it is an integral, significant, and vital component of education.

Gandhi proclaimed that moral and ethical education should be used to lay the groundwork for a man's development of morality from an early age. Gandhi saw this as crucial to the overall growth of a person's personality in general and to the advancement of humanity towards the path of peace in particular. Gandhi's approach to value education familiarises us with the need for fundamental education that emphasises social consciousness and the dignity of every person from a holistic perspective. Gandhi viewed moral education as a crucial element in promoting character growth. He argued for including religious subjects in the curriculum so that students might develop their moral and spiritual selves. He believed it would encourage the virtues of restraint, tolerance, and reverence in a person's character.

Gandhi thought that including religious subjects in the curriculum would strengthen students' moral character and help them to acquire tolerance, humanism, and forbearance. It would be simple to instil the values in the pupils early on because every faith teaches and recommends peace. Gandhi believed it was necessary to teach religious studies because India has many different cultural traditions to promote long-term harmony. Gandhi's strategy might be coisent in creating a lasting culture of peace. Gandhi is frequently credited as the source of the inspiration and activity of the organisations and institutions that promote peace and harmony.


Peace education aims to strengthen the human qualities required to resolve conflicts on an individual and social level. The origins can be discovered in societies with robust peace traditions. This discipline has significantly benefited from the study and contributions of many peace educators. Gandhi was one of the key figures in developing a plan for an educational programme to support peace.

With the advancement of knowledge and contemporary methods, peace education is being included in more and more educational programmes throughout the globe, with significant assistance from state and national governments in addition to global organisations like UNESCO. Education for world peace is increasingly seen as a sign of brighter times.

Updated on: 13-Mar-2023


Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started