Peace education as means of peaceful resolution of conflict in secondary schools: A case of Gulu District
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The study on Peace Education and its contribution to peaceful resolution of conflict was carried out in four secondary schools in Gulu District, Northern Uganda and these schools were Gulu High School, Gulu College, Sir Samuel Baker and Sacred Heart Secondary School. This study was motivated by the fact that Northern Uganda, and Gulu in particular was grossly affected by the protracted LRA war that lasted over twenty years putting physical and psychological strains on the people and the region to function at its maximum. The study sought to understand the extent to which Peace Education activities contributes to peaceful coexistence, how Peace Education contributes to changes in knowledge, attitude and practice in relation to conflict resolution, to investigate on the determinants of uptake of Peace Education among schools and establishing the relevancy of the strategies that can be used to promote the culture of peace among secondary school students. To achieve the above, both literature study and empirical investigation were used. The latter used both quantitative and qualitative research approaches using a questionnaire, key informant interviews and observation checklist as data gathering techniques. Descriptive statistics were compiled as part of the empirical study from students and teachers. Interviews were conducted with head teachers and deputies head teachers of relevant schools and Observation of students PE activities and practices was also recorded as a third key method of data collection in this study. The students were considered the representative population and posses’ key information on the area of the study. Teachers and administrators also formed part of the study because they are involved in the education of the children. The study established that Peace Education promotes forgiveness as a value and provides the values, skills and competencies to address conflict through dialogue, Self-respect, transformation, respect for others and school authority, self-confidence, knowledge, reconciliation, negotiation, mediation, forgiveness, cooperation, empathy, cultural traditions, relationship building and other nonviolent means. The study concluded that peace education is a practical program which can help to manage conflict effectively and also resolve it peacefully in schools and the fact that attitudes about conflict, violence, and peace originate in childhood and may be resistant to change; peace education should begin with young children who are in lower secondary school. From the improvement of practice based on the findings, the study recommended that Peace education should be integrated into other subject and taught regularly to the learners and the activities should be encouraged and practiced as well.