Shabeer Rather

Education and conflict

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Locking down schools is a conspiracy

when you have a conflict, that means that there are truths that have to be addressed on each side of the conflict. And when you have a conflict, then it's an educational process to try to resolve the conflict. And to resolve that, you have to get people on both sides of the conflict involved so that they can dialogue. (Dolores Huerta)

Education is very vital part of civilised society, thus very much important for peace to exist. In conflict torn regions its diameter of action widens to the great extent and it protects the fertile minds from getting consumed in the conflict. The schools , colleges and universities are the medium for the education and these medium transform the human behaviour. Education can transform or induct the behaviours in the children that can help them to withstand the most challenging circumstances.

I have seen how one year of school changes a child and how years of school transform that child’s future. I have watched as the power of education saved families from being poor, babies from dying and young girls from lives of servitude. And I have lived long enough to see a generation of children, armed with education, lift up a nation. (Graça Machel)

We must not ignore the valuable contribution that education can make as an efficient means to promote peace and reconciliation. The education is the biggest victim in the conflict or war zones. In my opinion stopping children from going to school or locking down the schools or educational institutions is the biggest human rights violation and heinous crime, even bigger than physically assaulting or harming. Off course schooling for children and running educational institutions in conflict zones is not the cakewalk , but we must understand that education alone can yield what you or I struggle for. In the time of unrest the education can bring sense of normality in the minds of young and thus can save children from depression and isolation.

The function of the education is to teach one think critically. Intelligence plus character that's is the goal of true education.  (Martin luther King Jr)

Since it is the education which invokes critical thinking in a person, thus a person understands different issues and problems at merit to put forward his opinion or view point. Hence, it can develop opinion of the young children for a particular issue coherent to yours or contradictory to yours. In both the cases, it is for the good of the society because, the more chances are - the educated person will use or put forth peaceful ways to resolve the issues which an uneducated person cannot, who may turn to violence to put forward his point of view.

According to Christene Gregocre, education is the foundation upon which we build our future.

Thus departure from education or shutting down educational institutions could be very futile in future and may lead to the adverse results to the society or nation.  Why do certain forces (in certain cases governments too) shut down schools  in trouble torn regions quite often?

“Its easier than you think to control people indirectly , to manipulate them into thinking what you want them to think and doing what you want them to do. One basic technique is to keep them ignorant, educated people are not easy to manipulate.  Abolishing public education would be the direct approach, that would spill beans. The indirect approach is to control the education they receive.”

If we go deep into it there are many points which may be the reason why it is done. There may be two types of reasons. The student community or young children consider themselves the part of the society or community and want to actively support their elders and therefore join their fight. Second reason could be the policies of the forces, that be, to keep the people unaware of the conflict and hence controlling them indirectly.

One can try to understand this situation in the light of what Charley Reese has said:

“Its easier than you think to control people indirectly , to manipulate them into thinking what you want them to think and doing what you want them to do. One basic technique is to keep them ignorant, educated people are not easy to manipulate.  Abolishing public education would be the direct approach, that would spill beans. The indirect approach is to control the education they receive.”

We must understand that the parental care,  counseling the children at home and guide and help the children for self studying and hence less dependent on tutorials  are equally important as schooling in conflict zones. The role of different NGOs and other international organisations cannot be nullified to make sure the right to education of every child in these regions.

As Maximilien Robospierre has rightly said:

The secret of freedom lies in educating people,  where as the secret of tyranny lies in keeping them ignorant.

  • The writer, B.tech SSMCOET, can be reached at shabeee121@gmail.com

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