November 24, 2016 by Staff Reporter
The Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) on November 18, 2016 engaged Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) members of staff and students in consultations on its plans to introduce peace education in the country.
The peace education consultations target education stakeholders that include Domasi College of Education, Chancellor College, Ministry of Education, Mzuzu University and MUST.
According to Under Secretary at OPC, Lyson Kandu, government is concerned with the reactive nature to conflict resolution and wants conflicts to be handled professionally by being proactive and having systems and structures in place that would deal with issues of peace building and peaceful coexistence.
“Although Malawi enjoys relative peace, we have had cases of conflict whose handling has left a lot to be desired. Government believes that peace education at primary, secondary and tertiary levels could be one way of promoting peaceful coexistence and imparting good conflict management skills,” he said,
He added that peace education is just one of the eight pillars they are implementing under the National Peace Architecture (NPA) project.
Kandu said so far studies have been done to establish causes of conflict in Malawi and how to deal with them and following this, consultations with various stakeholders have mapped the way forward in terms of addressing the issues.
On its part, MUST staff advised OPC to ensure that the peace education curriculum starts from primary to tertiary education through secondary schools and that this should not be influenced by donors.
“We have seen that projects that are initiated by donors end when the donors pull out. Our curriculum has been unstable because donors dictate things to us, so once we introduce peace education, let us ensure that it will be there forever.
“We used to have elements of peace education in Civics but that was stopped only to be replaced later with Life Skills and lately Social Studies. This is not good,” advised Dr Davies Mweta, Executive Dean of the Malawi Institute of Technology (MIT) at MUST.
Some of the observations from the MUST team included the need not to concentrate on political causes of conflict but to look at conflict holistically; introducing peace centres at institutional levels; considering mainstreaming peace education into existing courses other than running it as an independent subject, especially at tertiary level.
while in secondary and primary schools it could be an independent subject, and creating a forum for students and teachers in schools and other stakeholders in the community to discuss issues of peace and conflict management.