Monday, October 22, 2007

Education and peace

Jamie Einstein, 13, a bright Jewish boy with a long pony tail and his wrist in a plaster cast, talked happily about two of his Arab classmates, Moataz and Majd. "My two best friends, one of them is a Muslim and one is a Christian," he said. "For me it doesn't matter. What really matters is what they are like."

The Guardian reports on an educational experiment with mixed schooling in Jerusalem.

There is no suggestion that this is a panacea as the Israel/Palestine conflict is not, at heart, a communal conflict, but one over land and national sovereignty. Education cannot solve these political questions, though the school addresses them openly. However, the necessary two-state solution requires peaceful co-existence to work and this can only be enhanced by projects such as this, even if, at the moment, it is only reaching the children of middle-class professionals.

As my union, the UCU, retreats from the insanity of the boycott resolution, the way forward is surely for educationalists and their organisations to wholeheartedly support long-term educational developments that will augment a process of peaceful self-determination and co-existence, as well as helping to undermine the appeal of atavistic right-wing nationalisms.

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