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18.07.2005 Education

Put peace and human rights in education curriculum - Osafo-Maafo


Accra, July 18, GNA - Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Minister of Education and Sports, on Monday urged African governments to put peace and human rights education and literacy on sustainable development in the curriculum of educational institutions.

"Pupils and students must be exposed to the essences of peace, stability and inter-cultural diversity as well as the tribal and traditional cohesion that united our forefathers at their developmental stages to serve as frontier defence against crisis," he stated. Mr Osafo-Maafo, who was speaking at the opening session of an international training programme on peace building and good governance for African civilian personnel in Accra, emphasised that championing the cause of peace in homes, schools, workplaces, neighbourhoods and communities, constituted the most urgent task of every individual. The course is aimed at increasing the readiness and professionalism of African civilian personnel participating in peacekeeping and other peace support missions and to enhance their capacity to respond effectively to the complex challenges of post-conflict reconstruction. Attending the two-week course from July 18 to August 13 are 30 individuals from 21 African countries with various academic backgrounds. Mr Osafo-Maafo noted that African civilians undertaking peacekeeping operations needed to restore civility to public discourse on charting a path to peace and stability, improve individual skills and aptitudes for resolving conflicts and building peace through the instrumentality of the many civil society organisations on the Continent.

The Education Minister also noted that there was the need for the conduct of well-considered public education campaigns in diverse African communities on the virtues of, and necessity for, peace and the maintenance of pacific relations among all peoples on the Continent. It was also important to promote lawfulness, good citizenship and good governance principles at all levels of the education system as well as fostering of cross-cultural and multi-cultural exchanges that built trust and cooperation and reduced suspicion and tension, he said. Mr Osafo-Maafo said the success of Africans in this millennium depended "largely on our ability to make peace and democracy flourish on the Continent, through the creation of a self-sustaining culture of peace and tolerance that would ignite and sustain our total development".

He suggested the development and enhancement of the capacity of peacekeepers to investigate the incidence, causes and impact of conflicts, especially politically and religiously motivated discrimination, violence and related intolerance in society. Mr Osafo-Maafo said it was imperative that at the local, national and continental levels, African civilians undertook the obligation to foster peace and harmony on the Continent seriously.