Dr. Shweta Singh shares her insights on WISCOMP’s Education for Peace program in Jammu and Kashmir in a recently paper titled ‘Education for Peace through Transformative Dialogue: Experiences from Kashmir’ in International Review of Education, 2017 by Springer. Dr. Singh is an Assistant Professor at the Department of International Relations, Faculty of Social Science, South Asian University, New Delhi. The paper can be downloaded from here.
Research has shown that there has been severe disruption in the educational sector in Kashmir post-1989 (the year Kashmiri unrest erupted). Inhibiting problems include the destruction of school buildings, parents’ fear of sending their children to school, the recruitment of youth into armed groups, the economic decline of households, and forced displacement. This article examines the challenge posed by conditions of protracted conflict for young people and national education systems, based on a case study of Kashmir, India. The article has a twofold objective. First, it analyses how ongoing conflicts such as that in Kashmir impinge on both youth and education, and considers why it is necessary to engage substantively with national educational systems (through frameworks like Education for Peace) to promote transformative dialogue and sustainable peace. Second, it explores how contact-based, participatory models of education for peace (such as the Hum Kadam programme spearheaded by the non-governmental organisation Women in Security Conflict Management and Peace [WISCOMP] in Kashmir) can play a transformative role in divided societies, specifically in Kashmir and broadly in all situations of protracted religious and cultural conflict. Most importantly, it supports the rationale that spaces for dialogue in situations of protracted conflict are critical for making and maintaining peace.