Building a culture of peace: peace education in Kenyan primary schools
Although education in recent years has been recognised as holding the potential for both building peace and fuelling conflict, research in the area is scarce. This thesis therefore investigated the role education has played in peace-building following the 2007/08 post-election violence in Kenya. Kenya was chosen because a peace education programme was launched following the violence, making the country particularly progressive in that respect. In order to generate in-depth knowledge on the matter, a case-study approach using mixed-methods was adopted. In addition to four case studies, interviews were carried out with national policy makers and local school authorities to generate data on peace education policies. The qualitative data from the schools was triangulated with a teacher survey from a larger number of schools. The study found that education can indeed build peace, and that the Kenyan peace education programme can play a role in this. Drivers of conflict were also identified in the schools, pointing to a need for a holistic approach to peace education, where the whole school culture is addressed. Only one of the four case-study schools was found to have implemented peace education to the extent encouraged by the Ministry of Education. The three remaining schools were not found to have implemented peace education to the extent that policy makers had hoped. Within these three schools, a range of challenges faced by peace education initiatives were identified. In particular, the perceived relevance of peace education, location of schools, school leadership, sense of ownership of peace education, and national peace education policies were found to have a particular influence. The findings are followed by a set of recommendations for policy makers, teacher trainers and head teachers, arguing that there is a need for further grounding in national policies, more follow-up work in schools and more thorough training in peace, for peace education to reach its full potential in Kenya.