the need for peace education: Town Hall #1. Katherine Covell, PhD
Over the past couple of decades our schools, like our governments have focused on global economic restructuring and concerned themselves with promoting an economically and technologically competitive citizenry. But global developments, intensified by the events of 9-11, have highlighted the need for global citizens who are educated for peace, not just economic competitiveness. The ideal global citizen is one who understands the importance of respecting human rights, and who is prepared to work cooperatively to end poverty, to improve the health and well-being of the world’s children, to reclaim and protect the environment, and to effect peaceful co-existence among individuals, peoples and states. I believe we have the opportunity to work toward developing such global citizens through the systematic inclusion of children’s rights education – my form of peace education – in our schools.
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most widely ratified
international treaty in world history – ratified by all but
data show that when children are taught about their Convention rights within a
rights-based pedagogy, they demonstrate a deeper understanding of rights, more
respect for the rights of others, a sense of social responsibility and the
participation skills appropriate for effective democratic citizenship.
Similarly, those who teach children about their rights come to believe more
strongly in the need for ensuring the rights of all children are respected. In
essence, children’s rights education can promote a culture of peace. It is one
means of preparing children for a world characterized by mutual respect based on
the belief in rights for all, and thus characterized by peace.
Dr Katherine Covell is a professor of psychology at the University College of Cape Breton, executive director of the UCCB Children’s Rights Centre, and board member of a number of child advocacy groups including the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children. Her teaching, research, and publications are centered on children’s rights issues, most notably children’s rights education.