CONVOCATION 26 January 2020: School Day of Nonviolence, 30 January 2020

School Day of Nonviolence, 30 January 2020

In 2007 the United Nations declared 30 January, the date of the assassination of Gandhi, International Day of Nonviolence. Women in Black against war want to draw attention to the need to form from an early age, both in schools and in families, education for peace and the nonviolent resolution of conflicts. We understand education for peace as a process that allows us to perceive the world in which we live in a manner that connects events with their causes. We aspire to educate ourselves to be part of a less violent and more just society on the path towards social change, utilizing nonviolent resolution of conflicts as a force for change.

In European centers of scholarship the name of Erasmus has become popular through international exchange programs. His work concerning peace, however, is forgotten. Erasmus said: “The most disadvantageous peace is better than the most just war.” Another classic of European education, Francesco de Petrarca, has pointed out the causes that engender violence: fear, greed, envy, hatred and pride.

Our study programs seem to have forgotten this inheritance from European humanism, consigning its study to mere anecdote and giving priority to technologies and bi-lingual education, that great creator of illiteracy in two languages, expecting that the student will learn all the subjects in a language that is not his or her own.

The overload of subject matter, little time for the humanities in the curriculum, the absence of participatory methodology and cooperative learning cause our schools to become all that is contrary to schools of nonviolence.

Lack of freedom for the faculty, beset by the pressure of schedules and demand for high grades, which seems to be the only thing that matters to the families and academic authorities, makes it difficult to design activities that could be more motivating. To this one can add the proposal of a parental “pin” which supposedly attempts to protect the rights of the parents to select the education of their children but is nothing more than a way to limit the rights of those children to study the courses of their choosing. (Such a proposal has been adopted by the ultra right in Murcia and it is feared that it might extend to other areas of the country).

Society demands that teachers guide education along impossible paths full of obstacles, the greatest being lack of democracy in school administration, along with overcrowding in the classrooms. Regarding the election of principals, teachers formerly had a significant vote but now, in practice, principals are elected by the regional departments of education.

Women in Black against war request on this School Day of Nonviolence:

Democracy in the management by the administrative centers with greater participation and freedom for the faculty.

An education in nonviolence that will integrate multiculturalism and the diversity of our student body.

Education in the nonviolent resolution of conflicts for a culture of peace and funding of resources for the formation of such learning.

Translation: Trisha Novak, USA – Yolanda Rouiller, WiB Spain