International Day of Education, 2024 “Learning for Lasting Peace”

Mr Davion Leslie, Programme Manager, Human Resource Development, CARICOM Secretariat

International Day of Education (24 January) highlights education as a human right, a public good and a public responsibility.  In this blog, Davion Leslie, Programme Manager, Human Resource Development, CARICOM Secretariat, illustrates the critical need to use education as a tool for promoting peace in our Region. 

The world is in the midst of multiple complex transitions as demographic, economic and social factors converge to create uncertainties about the future. Climate change, growing youth unemployment, conflicts and discrimination are driving migration and creating tensions within and between societies. At the same time, widening income inequality, among other issues, puts the social contract under pressure and creates gaps in the intergenerational solidarity needed to maintain a peaceful and orderly society. While the CARICOM Region has historically been a zone of peace, this must not be taken for granted, and all efforts to preserve this must be celebrated.

It is against this background that the CARICOM Secretariat acknowledges the importance of the theme for International Day of Education, 2024 – “Learning for lasting peace.” Indeed, if it is true that peace begins at home, then certainly it is strengthened at school.

Our education system is an important partner in the development and preservation of a peaceful society. At the macro level, schools support the peace effort when they prepare students to function as well-adjusted members of society, productive and creative members of the workforce and thoughtful and conscientious citizens. However, beyond this, the role schools play in equipping students with the skills to negotiate compromise, manage their emotions, communicate effectively and to critically assess shifting situations and make sound judgements is at the foundation of any peace-building initiative and is the core of the “learning for peace” agenda.

So, today, even as we entreat all members of society to strive and yearn for peace, we acknowledge the important role that teachers and school administrators play in ensuring that this is indeed a reality within the Community. We commend UNICEF for choosing to use the day to spotlight this highly relevant issue and to draw attention to the role that learning plays in reducing personal conflicts and contributing to the wider peace agenda.

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