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The role of education in driving conflict and building peace: The case of Rwanda
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-07, 16:39 authored by Lyndsay Mclean HilkerLyndsay Mclean Hilker
This article considers the relationship between education, conflict, and peacebuilding in Rwanda. First, it examines the role that education played in the lead-up to the 1994 genocide, discussing whether and how the low levels of educational attainment, inequalities of access, curricular content, and teaching methods contributed to the conditions for violence. It then looks at approaches to rebuilding the education sector since 1994. Despite significant progress, for example in widening access and achieving gender parity at primary level, three significant challenges remain. First, educational opportunity continues to be unequal in the post-primary sector, with disparities of access between rich and poor, a severe lack of alternative and non-formal educational opportunities, and some ethnic dimensions to the disparities. Second, tensions remain over history teaching due to government attempts to impose a single "official" narrative of Rwanda's history. Finally, teaching methods remain largely teacher-centred, with little open debate and teaching of critical thinking skills. The paper cautions that, despite progress, some dimensions of Rwanda's current education policy and practice may continue to exacerbate tensions. The article concludes by outlining some future priorities and urges the Rwandan government and its international development partners to more rigorously assess the potential impact of education policies on fragile social relations, and to embrace opportunities for education to play a more central role in peacebuilding in Rwanda.
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- Anthropology Publications
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