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Opinions of Sunday, 4 October 2015

Columnist: Abdulai, Alhaji Alhasan

Re: Could Conflict resolution be integrated into school curriculum?

By Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai

I read the article by Mercy Adede Bolus on the need to integrate conflict resolution in school curriculum with interest and I must confess I fell in love with the suggestions she made in it. Although she said in the end that her suggestions were ‘food for thought’, I feel that she has made most of the points needed towards training our children the way to go in life. I believe that if we follow through with the lessons at school our children would grow to be responsible adults imbued with tolerance, fellow feeling, law abiding and less quarrelsome. The writer hit the nail right in the head when she made mention of problems arising from pressure on students to meet deadlines in essay writing and I must say that it applies to all subjects taught at school including extracurricular activities like football and athletics and other sports. There is always pressure mounted on students to excel in their lessons and sports with some succeeding while others fail. The rivalry that is generated in these activities can lead to jealousy and hatred leading to the weak ones feeling bad especially when the rest of the class or school begin to tease them. Their reactions can be deadly as quarrels can ensue. Apart from this we often hear of some students attacking teachers and headmasters for mishandling students and other such behavior on the part of school authorities. If the students are not taught to be tolerant and to follow laid down procedure they would always use violent means instead of peaceful ways to deal with issues at schools.
These behavior by the students can lead to them organizing demonstrations on large scales at least provocation sometimes under the influence of drugs. If students are not taught to be tolerant and peace loving they can extend this to party political activities, chieftaincy and land acquisition and other areas like sports such as football.
To succeed in going by the suggestions given by Mercy Adede Bolus the following steps can be taken
School curriculum could be enriched with conflict resolution lessons to include lessons in communication skills, together with behavior management.
School authorities can employ the services of religious organizations and staff of National Commission for Civic Education to take students through civic education and moral studies with special emphasis to conflict resolution.
The national peace council will definitely show interest in this by providing a helping hand
Civic education clubs could be formed in all schools to hold debates and discussions on civic education.
In order for the lessons on civic education and conflict resolution lessons to be of benefit to the entire nation the clubs can be supported to hold outreach programs in communities and churches.
The ‘food for thought’ given by Mercy Adede is so rich that government must give it a serious consideration. If handled very well with the much needed resources the project on conflict resolution can promote peace and concord from schools communities and the nation as a whole

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