Friday, May 20, 2011


From my research, peace education as a component of school curricuilum is still not given much priority in mainstream education in Nigeria. What can mostly be found are faith - based organizations who organize peace building activities in the society to promote better understanding and cooperation among the diverse ethnic/religious groups that abound in Nigeria.

Prior to the TWB CTM Peace education programme there has been very few concrete efforts at integrating peace education into mainstream education system especially at the primary and secondary levels of education.

Education of the citizenry in Nigeria is on the concurrent list i.e. the Federal and the State Governments have legislative powers on education.  Hence, any decision on the contents of the curriculum and how it should be imparted rests solely with the governments and it seems there has not been enough recognition of the value of peace education for it to warrant being given prominence in the educational system.

 "the Social Studies curriculum for the UBE programme in Nigeria contain some peace education topics that are based on the eight action areas of peace education recommended by the United Nations. Effective implementation  of peace education curriculum requires the integration  of peace concept and strategies into all aspects of instruction to cut across subject boundaries and educational practices including administration,  guidance counseling and others. This is because peace education is not just about adding topics or themes to the curriculum. It is about mind transformation through the acquisition of appropriate skills, values and attitude which will empower the learner to seek and maintain peace.  The implication is that peace education goes beyond subject matter issues to include all aspects of learning that touch on the behaviour of the learner. non-violence and a holistic peace education framework  needs to be integrated into curriculum areas in terms of content (knowledge and texts) and pedagogies (participatory and cooperative).Classroom  management skills can endorse non-violence principles and practices of conflict resolution. The findings that learners are neither involved in activities that demonstrate values and principles in peace education nor do they frequently engage in peace-making skill- acquisition activities indicate a lacuna in the implementation  of peace education in Nigeria. Akudolu (2006:4)

"Serious  attention  is  yet  to  be  given  to  this  all-important  element  of  building  up  a sustainable Democratic values through educational programmes for the citizenry in  Nigeria.   In 1999 the National Commission on Adult Literacy and Non-formal Education organized writers workshop on Citizenship Education at the University of Ibadan.  This is, perhaps the first governmental action aimed at promoting citizenship and peace education in Nigeria.  Blueprint on the Subject, however is yet to be published and implemented due to logistic problems." UNESCO (2000)

Also, as rightly noted by Dr Lilian-Rita Akudolu of the Faculty of Education of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria in her paper titled “Assessing Peace Education Component Of The Universal Basic Education In Nigeria Through Social Studies Curriculum",

"After the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Nigeria in 1914, Nigeria became a country constituted of diverse and heterogeneous culture. Consequently there have been cases of struggle for dominance among the people, this struggle eventually degenerated into a bloody civil war. One would have expected that after experiencing this civil war 1970s, Nigerians would be very careful to maintain peace in the country. This is far from being the case as  the country has continued to experience various forms of inter tribal, political and religious disturbances that have often led to loss of lives and property. In fact Forsyth (1997) correctly notes that though political upheaval was the immediate cause of the war, the fundamental cause was tribal hostility embedded in a country characterised with hidden basic disunity. There is therefore the need to refocus this country along the line of peace so as to establish the long eluded national unity."

She also added
"Over the years, the Federal Government has through different avenues sought to establish closer cultural, social, religious and linguistic ties among the people so as to create the long eluded unity in the country. Among these government initiatives are the establishment  of Unity Secondary schools in different States of the Federation and the setting up of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme which compels every Nigerian on graduation to serve the country for one year in any State of the Federation that is not the person’s State of origin. Also in political appointments at the Federal level, effort is made as much as possible to cover the different ethnic groups. Despite all these and other concerted efforts by the Federal Government, the idea of interpreting another person’s actions on the basis of ethnic or religious affiliations still prevails among the citizens."

A Gbesso, in his research report on the status of peace education in West Africa, noted that
"There are very few formal Peace Education initiatives undertaken at central level in West African countries. Emerging initiatives are taken by countries in post-conflict reconstruction phases that intend to re-build social cohesion and set foundations for lasting peace. But the lack of resources undermines these initiatives. Most initiatives are taken at the level of higher education, by universities and colleges."

He also noted that
"At primary and secondary school levels, there are very few initiatives and the few existing ones are not documented and as such, it has been difficult to find relevant and up-to-date information on those initiatives. Below is a case study from Togo outlining an evolving initiative that still needs to be improved."

In Nigeria for example, there is no clear cut definition of a curriculum for peace education at the primary and post primary levels and there does not seem to be any intent on the part of policy makers to integrate this important component into the educational system. Though at various times, there have been some efforts at developing subjects like "Moral education", "Social Studies" etc which they designers attempted using to teach some aspects of moral standards and national understanding; they were not sufficiently designed to serve as good vehicles for passing the message a well designed peace education system will be expected to convey.

Though there is no apparent interest on the part of policy makers to integrate Peace education into the national educational curriculum, it is worth mentioning that there has been a lot of of Peace Education initiatives in the country undertaken by Non=Governmental Organizations.most of these initiatives are organized by faith based NGOs and other thematic NGOs, they mostly have deal with  human rights education have gone on to include other themes such as democracy and citizenship education. Governmental agencies like the National Orientation Agency (NOA) has also been an important actor by sponsoring workshops, seminars, rallies and conflict resolution (roundtable) conferences. The major setback of such initiatives is that they are organized mostly to focus on the elite educated sector of the society and hardly does their messages trickle down to the grassroots and the youths.

Though the integration of peace education into the mainstream educational curricula will be very welcome, the aparent lack of political will by the policy makers shifts the burden unto the shoulders of dedicated educators and teacher trainers. The focus of most recent curriculum revision in Nigeria has been more on developing and encouraging Science and Technology based studies with little or no thought for using education as a vehicle for building national unity and better understanding among the various heterogenous groups in the country.

Individual dedicated educators need to fashion out learning activities and other educational resources that could be used in the training of the coming generation on the importance of imbibing the lofty ideals of unity, cooperation and peaceful coexistence.

Akudolu, Lilian-Rita (2006) Assessing Peace Education Component Of The Universal Basic Education In Nigeria Through Social Studies Curriculum
paper presented at the 12th World Conference in Education of the World Council for Curriculum and Instruction, Manila, Philippines, August 2006

Gbesso, A (2006) The Status of Peace Education in West Africa
Research Report, December 2006


  1. Hi Ibrahim,
    Thank you for sharing this research on the state of Peace Education in Nigeria. Unfortunately this is the state of peace education in many places - it is hard to gain government support. And even in some states where peace education is supported by national policy (Uganda, for example), the actual implementation in practice is not happening at the level it should be.

  2. miss stephanie pls kindly get across to me via my number. 2348038751011. i need u as a guest speak in a project funded by nigeria govt on peace education. i am the facilitator . thanks


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