Education is the foundation for economic and social development. It also leads to an awareness of the environment that we live in and gives us the ability to judge impartially what is going on around us. A person who is highly educated can hardly be swayed into taking unconsidered decisions and be involved in thought processes that can harm the larger interests of society. Education decreases the possibility of “herd” mentality that is, blindly following what others want you to believe, often to the detriment of self and country. This is one reason why oppressive dictatorships flourish in countries that are low in education indices. People who have not reached a certain standard in education can hardly be expected to have a decent standard of living and quality of life and this becomes a breeding ground more for conflict than peace.
Education also facilitates an understanding of the need for public health and acts as a catalyst for peace and prosperity. This also brings about an increasing awareness for the need to establish social justice and prevent violence and poverty in every form. When the fabric of society is shredded by vested interests through strife and hostility, there can only be one possibility – that groups are taking advantage of the people not aware of the environment and using them for their narrow ends. An educated population on the other hand will be able to judge the pros and cons and weigh the results and will not be swayed by elements that are a curse on society. Thus education can be said to be one of the key components for ensuring global peace.
Peace education programmes are so structured that they challenge the status quo and explore new avenues for global peace even in times of chaos and instability. It helps us to actively modify attitudes and behaviour and mould our mindset to be at peace with the world. The key to education is the many alternatives it offers for serving mankind. Take the case of the nursing profession in Australia. Melbourne nursing courses offer opportunities for young minds to care for the sick and the infirm. This takes the youth away from adverse situations and directs them towards respectability, far away from potential conflict areas. It is about people getting involved in education that makes the main difference.
If one avenue has to be chosen that can establish a close bond between education and its impact on global peace, it has to be transformative learning. It is not merely a process of learning that creates an awareness of what we do not know; it changes our whole attitude and perception of life. Another example will help simplify the process of transformative learning. If you have gone through one of the many dental courses in Australia, you will undoubtedly be on your way to a rewarding and a lucrative career. But how will it change you? Along with the skill sets acquired of the dental profession, you will also focus on human suffering that is related to gums and oral disease. Curing it will give you a satisfaction that goes far beyond the call of the profession. Knowing what pain is at first hand will stop you from getting into violent and conflict situations.
This then is the power of education in maintaining world peace. It helps to structure beliefs, attitudes and values and channelize them towards positive goals and objectives of life. Most importantly, these attributes based on quality education are more resistant to change and hence more lasting in nature. This enables us to have a world scenario where peace is paramount, lasting and permanent.