Peace education: a method of mitigating viloent conflicts in selected secondary schools in Mansa Disrict, Zambia

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Mulaisho, Beatrice
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University of Zambia
The main purpose of this study was to explore Peace Education as a method of mitigating violent conflicts in selected secondary schools in Mansa district, Zambia. Peace Education is a remedial measure to protect learners and children from involving themselves in violent acts in the society. In essence it attempts to develop a set of behavioural skills necessary for peaceful living and peace-building from which the whole of humanity benefits. The human relation skills acquired through the learner-centered approach forms a critical mind that transforms a learner into an individual that is capable of making informed decisions that inculcates social justice thus promoting psychological and cultural peace. Through a qualitative-descriptive design, data was obtained from the purposively sampled PEO, the DEBS, 4 Standard Officers. 4 Head teachers, and 12 teachers, using semi-structured interview guides. 20 grade twelve pupils and teachers were conveniently sampled due to their presence at that particular time. Data from pupils was collected using focus group discussions guide .Schools were purposively sampled because of their nature of being either: public, faith-based, mixed or single sex, less or large enrolment, urban or Peri-urban. X-sight for social sciences was used to analyse, present and discuss data. The findings revealed that the types of violent conflicts in secondary schools included, misunderstandings over differences in ideas and opinions, poor communication and inappropriate expressions of emotions, misunderstandings over failure to meet pupil's demand and misuse of power by the 'teachers and misunderstandings over teacher's negligence of their duties which caused pupils to hate them thereby threatening conflict. JThe study further revealed that learners acquired peace education through the integrative school ^curricula. This was taught using participatory and inquiry based methods which were best suited ffor teaching and learning of peace education. However, most respondents had scanty knowledge *about it; and thus, its effectiveness was minimal. Pupils revealed that their purpose of learning was for intellectualism and examinations sake and most teachers did not practice what they taught and its impact to mitigate violent conflicts among learners was therefore questionable. This study concluded that peace education was cardinal in preventing violent conflicts that were caused by misunderstandings in many areas of life within institutions. Peace Education was taught through the integrative curriculum and other activities like drama groups, debating societies and outreach activities. Seemingly, the study revealed that teachers had problems to identify peace values that were passed on to the learners and was taught only in some segments of the curriculum, which is in social sciences only. This means that peace education is applied at ^ minimal scale, hence, has less impact on the learners, school environments and the society at large.
Master of Science in Peace, Leadership and Conflict Resolution
Peace building--Secondary schools--Zambia , Conflict management strategies--Zambia