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UNESCO Initiates Peace Education Project in Northern Rakhine State of Myanmar with Support from the Belgium Government

September 20, 2013

Yangon: The
Ministry of Education in Myanmar has approved UNESCO’s peace education project
in Northern Rakhine State. The announcement of the project’s approval aptly
coincides with the International Day of Peace on 21 September with the theme of
“Education for Peace.” This reaffirms the commitment of the Ministry of
Education to promote peace education as a means for fostering mutual respect
for cultural diversity at the school level and to jointly implement the project
with UNESCO through funding support from the Belgium government.
Following the
recent communal violence in Rakhine State, resulting in an ongoing humanitarian
situation which has affected hundreds of schools and thousands of students, the
government of Myanmar and international community has identified peace
education as one of the priority to address underlying causes of the communal
tension. The overall aim of the peace education project is to enhance the
capacity of school teachers, students and their parents to facilitate inclusive
problem-solving processes and consensus-building around community priorities
and to strengthen the commitment to an inclusive civic national identity.
Through a conflict-sensitive approach to education, the project will support
local leaders, teachers, students, parents and civil society to facilitate
constructive civic dialogue that promotes inter-cultural awareness and peaceful
co-existence. The project will promote the long term goal of education to
overcome discrimination and exclusion through human rights-based, quality
education.
The project will be
implemented in three townships in Northern Rakhine State – Maungdaw, Buthidaung
and Rathedaung— and will train 350 teachers from 40 conflict-affected schools
in peace education, benefiting approximately 10,000 students. The project also
aims to reactivate 40 Parent Teacher Associations and set-up three Community
Learning Centres. The Ministry of Education indicated interest in seeing the
training modules developed under this project rolled-out for use in other cease-fire
areas in Myanmar.