The Role of Education in Peacebuilding: Literature Review
This report is part of a knowledge generation study within the Education and Emergencies and Post-Crisis Transition (EEPCT) programme – a partnership between the Government of the Netherlands and the European Commission. The study comprises two phases:
- a review of research and programme literature to assess existing knowledge about education's role in peacebuilding, identify critical gaps and analyse initiatives by UNICEF and its partners in post-conflict contexts; and
- completion of a number of country case studies and a final report that summarizes the findings.
A review of UNICEF and partner programme literature was also undertaken in terms of
- whether documents made ‘explicit or implicit' reference to peacebuilding;
- whether there was reference to ‘theories of change';
- the sequencing of education programming in post-conflict situations; and
- analysis in terms of programme relevance to security and political, economic and social transformation in post-conflict societies.
The review found that the theoretical literature on peacebuilding draws an important distinction between ‘negative peace' (the cessation of violence) and ‘positive peace' (structural changes that address social injustices that may be a cause of violence). Peacebuilding theory also suggests the need for education to support transformation processes related to changes in security, political institutions, economic regeneration and social development within postconflict societies. The review of the education literature highlights three broad discourses that have emerged during the past decade.
- The first area concerns ‘education in emergencies', which prioritizes a concern for the protection of children and a response to the negative impacts of conflict on their education. Such programmes are mostly framed in terms of humanitarian response.
- A second area of literature emphasizes the need for ‘conflict-sensitive' education that ‘does no harm', for example, by making sure that education does not reinforce inequalities or fuel further divisions.
- A third area relates to ‘education and peacebuilding', and is often framed in terms of a development role for education through reforms to the education sector itself and by contributing to political, economic and social transformations in post-conflict society.
- Peacebuilding theory has not had a strong influence on education programming.
- Education for peacebuilding goes beyond ‘do no harm' and can contribute to peacebuilding through post-conflict transformation.
- Most education programming is not planned in advance from a peacebuilding perspective.
- The sequencing of education programming is important.
- The transition from humanitarian to development funding is an important concern.
- Peacebuilding requires more attention to education sector reform as well as timing and sequencing.
- Education needs to engage with the United Nations peacebuilding architecture.
- UNICEF needs to review the implications of a more explicit commitment to peacebuilding. (pp. 6-7)