- Peace Education to realise a brighter future for all children in East Asia
Peace Education to realise a brighter future for all children in East Asia
The Japan Teachers’ Union (JTU), the Korean Teachers and Education Workers Union (KTU), and the China’s National Committee of the Educational, Scientific, Cultural, Health and Sports Workers’ Union came together on 8th and 9th August 2023, in Seoul, Korea, to organise their 11th biennial assembly for practical exchange of peace education.
Since the first assembly was held in Beijing, China, in August 2006, educators of China, Japan and Korea have continued to collaboratively engage in peace education, even during times when relations between nations cooled down and during the global pandemic of COVID-19. It is because they have shared the importance of practical interaction and solidarity among teachers in times of crisis.
A middle school teacher representing KTU presented his report emphasising the need for change in order to move toward the future without limiting class practices dealing with historical disputes to “anti-Japan.” Therefore, he made six suggestions including “looking at modern history from a broader and multiple perspectives”, “while facing the history of pain and violence, treating it as a history of solidarity to restore human rights and dignity”, and “conducting educational practices that allow students to explore peace, human rights, and democracy in East Asia, find solutions, and share them in class” among others.
On behalf of ACFTU, a junior high school teacher reported on her practice of peace education in history class. She emphasised that the goal of education is to help students understand that neither violence nor war solves problems, and that their price is the lives of the younger generation. At the end she concluded that by remembering history, fascism will not rise again, and the world peace can be expected.
As JTU representatives, two elementary school teachers reported on their practice of peace education using a school trip to Okunoshima, where poison gas had been produced during the war II. “There are many students think that atomic bombs are terrifying, that war is wrong, or that the world should be at peace, but few students think about why the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima”, they said. Under the circumstance, Okunoshima was chosen to learn that Japan has a history not only of being harmed, but of harming other countries. The teachers emphasised the importance to learn from lessons of history and build a peaceful future and friendship in East Asia by teaching the truth without hiding our negative history.
War is the worst violation of human rights. However, there are still many countries and regions in armed conflicts over the world. We must strengthen solidarity and unity as educators and union members to end conflicts and wars peacefully. It is our duty and responsibility as adults to pass on to our children a peaceful future that embraces equity and diversity.