A Cooperative Model for Peace Education in schools
The primary objective is to help the child grow into a peaceful person so that he not only achieves his dreams, but is also able to contribute to the community. Viewed in this perspective, the key components of the cooperative model for peace education are as follows:
1. Communication Skills
The structure of a cooperative organization is such that the members learn to effectively communicate and work as a team of people towards a common goal. Ability to indulge in sincere dialogue, understand each others perspective and work towards effective solutions are the essential elements of communications skills. At a time when developing the communication skills of school children is emphasized through various strategies a cooperative approach would be very beneficial in this regard.
2. Character Building
The ethical values of cooperatives can be very important in building up the character of the school children. These values must be propagated amongst the school children through various creative methodologies. The value of social responsibilities and caring for others provides the school children an opportunity to be exposed to social realities and understand people’s problems while working with them.
3. Democratic Participation
This particular component can be highlighted to make the children aware of the need to actively participate in the affairs of an organization. Active participation in a democratic institution like cooperative can minimize the potentialities of conflict.The attempt would be here to enhance the participatory skills of the children through a cooperative approach.
4. Self Empowerment
Cooperative organization enables a member to be self empowered so as to make optimal contribution to not only the organization, but also the immediate community. This includes developing skills to respect h others and appreciate them honestly. All this leads to peace. So cooperative approach in which the school children feel self empowered is very important for developing them as peaceful individuals. When self-empowerment comes, then it leads to community empowerment. When community is empowered then it builds up a strong foundation of peace.
5. Sustainable Development
The aptitude for peace amongst the school children can be developed if the stress and strain in their competitive daily routine can be channelized in a positive direction by creating genuine empathy for the environment around. The challenge here will be to develop a child friendly module based on interesting experiences of cooperatives in sustainable development in the country. When children are sensitised that a cooperative approach can lead to fruitful initiatives in sustainable development, then they can themselves involve themselves in such initiatives, which can minimize their chances of indulging in such activities which can lead to friction.
6. Leadership Development
If the children are sensitized to act as agents of change in their community by developing the skills and values of working in cooperatives, then their leadership qualities can be enhanced. They can thus develop their personality based on peaceful foundation so as to make a positive difference though their conduct and action.
7. Building Trust
In today’s era many of the problems in organizations are due to lack of trust, and ego at all levels. If the children are groomed with the values of cooperatives and are made aware of the importance of principles of Cooperation which encourage collective action, they can develop trust amongst themselves which can reduce the chances of their every day conflicts. They can also develop the quality of sharing which can enable them to work for common good.
The above important elements for building a model of peace education through a cooperative approach can provide a new direction to peace education for the children in the schools. Successful case examples of the working of cooperatives in an interesting manner, or may be through a story telling methodology can be incorporated with these elements so as to make the model strong.
Strategic Advantages for Cooperatives
In a scenario when there is urgent need of some organizations or sectors to contribute to make substantial initiatives as far as peace education in the country are concerned, the cooperatives poses a strategic advantage because of their inherently strong value framework. It will be a big challenge for the cooperative sector to make effective forays in this arena by developing peace education modules. Besides, this can be an effective communication strategy for the cooperative sector to make its presence felt in the mainstream school education system of the country by appealing to the psyche of the children whose minds have to be nurtured with elements of peace. The peace education modules for the schools must be formulated in such a manner that not only cooperative principles/values are given significance ,but also the uniqueness of the cooperative structure for the school children comes into a sharper focus.
National Cooperative Union of India’s Initiatives
National Cooperative Union of India is an apex organization of cooperative movement in the country has taken definite initiatives to popularize cooperative model of development amongst the school children. Besides organizing events like Quiz, Debates etc. For the school children, NCUI is also involved to educate the schools about the cooperative societies and empower students with the development of 21st Century skills which will be achieved through project based and activity based approaches. NCUI is also taking serious efforts to ensure that the study of the cooperatives is given prominence in the school syllabus. So this may be the right time to make effective interventions so as to emerge as a pioneering institution in the direction of developing a comprehensive peace education model for the country. If this model is developed taking into account the Indian scenario then this can definitely emerge a s a trend-setter for the other countries of the Asia Pacific Region.
Image building has been one of the biggest challenges of the cooperative sector in the recent times. Making effective intervention in the field of peace through schools can be one of the effective strategies for image building, and also an opportunity to propagate their values and principles within the broader framework of peace.