While we recognize that peace and peace studies are often absent from or make up small portions of curriculum, is this true globally? Education and curriculum writ large often serve to convey to a new generation societal norms and beliefs, but how much of that is geared towards peace? Standish and colleagues have attempted to analyze this for primary and secondary education using a mixed methods approach in a project called Peace Education Curriculum Analysis Project (2014-2017). This project focuses on national level curriculums and determining to what extent these curriculum delve into peace education. Several studies have been conducted and published in peer reviewed journals, including analyses of New Zealand, Sweden, Scotland, and Mexico (Kertyzia and Standish, 2019; Standish and Nygren, 2018; Standish and Joyce, 2016; Standish, 2016). On their project’s website, they also post “report cards” for countries that they have analyzed, as well as a description of that score. The highest score of the ten countries with report cards is a C+, which for any student is probably a pretty disappointing grade. That said, it is telling that even the countries that score relatively high on GPI and PPI by IEP standards may still be lacking in the inclusion of peace-driven curriculum at the national level. That said, it doesn’t mean that countries are not attempting to incorporate topics that they feel will reduce violence into their curriculum. Recall from Lesson 5 that the Saudi Ministry of Education has implemented programs in schools that “seek to educate students about the dangers of terrorism and aim to promote nationalism” (Boucek, 2008). The integration of a more peace-related curriculum may be highly beneficial world-wide.
Higher education is not exempt from these critiques either, including the discipline of Geography. Megoran (2011) encourages geographers to find examples of geographies of peace, study them, provide lessons learned, and devise methods to apply them to current situations. This includes peace geographies at a variety of scales (a common theme throughout this course).
While this section is not intended to be a comprehensive review of the literature related to peace education, it is certainly an interesting cross section. Megoran (2011) also reminds readers that peace is a process that needs constant work and can be quite fragile. As a process that needs constant work, world-wide education from early childhood education to secondary education to the collegiate level could likely benefit from a greater integration of peace-related curriculum. This is certainly an area that could benefit from a greater research emphasis.
Kertyzia, H., and Standish, K. (2019). Looking for peace in the national curriculum of Mexico. International Journal of Development Education and Global Learning, 11(1), 50-67.
Megoran, N. (2021). War and peace? An agenda for peace research and practice in geography. Political Geography, 30, 178-189.
Standish, K., and Nygren, T. (2018). Looking for peace in the Swedish National Curricula. Nordic Journal of Studies in Educational Policy, 4(2), 92-106.
Standish, K., and Joyce, J. (2016) Looking for peace in the National Curriculum of Scotland. Peace Research, 48(1-2): 67-90.
Standish, K. (2016). Looking for peace in national curriculum: the PECA Project in New Zealand. Journal of Peace Education, 13(1): 18-40.