Reflective workshop and experience sharing between teachers/debate facilitators from 12 schools supported by Rwanda Peace Education Programme (RPEP)
The Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP) is into a partnership with three other organizations to implement the Rwanda Peace Education Programme. IRDP contribution to this joint initiative is the promotion of critical thinking among youth both in schools and in villages. As key “boundary partners” for the achievement of the Programme objectives, Educators play also the role of debate facilitators in their respective schools. They periodically meet to exchange, assess their work and learn from one another. It is in this line that a reflective workshop was organized at IRDP Peace Center from 19th to 20th November 2015. This workshop had as objective to share experience between educators from 12 schools and to demonstrate the achievements and challenges walked throughout during 2015 and what could be improved in 2016; likewise it was a good time to discuss on the new curriculum and to make a SWOT analysis of it and the peace education component.
“Peace education promotes empathy and kindness for the vulnerable and the poor as well as disabled; refugees and sicks. People with this knowledge help and act with compassion at any time and in any circumstance” Say Emelienne Mushimiyimana & Rukundo Lambert educators at centre Schoolaire Elena Guerra.
Some of the achievements reached on by these schools is that Students are advanced in critical thinking and research spirit; tolerance; Social assistant (students help each other through contribution of money for those who are not able to pay their contribution to the “school feeding programme” to have lunch at school, and for those who don’t have school materials). Students do also visit hospitalized peoples; help poor; in addition the students have adopted the culture of self-resolution of conflicts between them. However, beside these achievements, there are some challenges met in the implementation of RPEP, such as school programs that sometimes interrupt RPEP debates clubs’ activities and Language barriers (some Schools those who are Critical thinking and Peace Education in the new Curriculum: Peace education was inserted in the new national curriculum to be implemented from January 2016. One of the teachers who were trained on this curriculum shared with
others about it with more focus on peace education with regard to knowledge, skills, attitudes and values. Their key concern at the moment being the risk for the “peace education to stay just written in the curriculum and not correctly implemented..
After making SWOT analysis on new curriculum , educators said that this new it could bring positive change not only for them but also for learners as it puts more emphasis on practice than on theory. To respond to identified key challenges such as overpopulation of classrooms; shortage of materials; equipment and poor knowledge in peace education, participants to the workshop found out that the commitment of local administration; central government and parents are highly needed for a successful implementation of this new curriculum, especially the newly introduced component of peace education component. .