TEACHERS AS AGENTS OF CHANGE: PROMOTING PEACEBUILDING AND SOCIAL COHESION IN SCHOOLS IN RWANDA
Keywords:teachers, Rwanda, peacebuilding, social cohesion
Education is seen to play a crucial role in the reconstruction of post-conflict countries, particularly in transforming peopleâ€™s mindsets and rebuilding social relations. In this regard, teachers are often perceived as key agents to bring about this transformative change through their role as agents of peace. This paper seeks to understand how teachers are positioned to promote peacebuilding and social cohesion in Rwandan schools in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. The paper draws on data collected for an on-going broader study researching the role of teachers in peacebuilding in post-conflict contexts of Rwanda and South Africa. The methods used for data collection were semi-structured interviews, focus-group discussions, questionnaires and classroom observations. Theoretically the paper is informed by the broader research framework on sustainable peacebuilding in post-conflict situations, using the four dimensions of recognition, redistribution, representation and reconciliation (4Rs). The findings show that the policy environment is conducive to peacebuilding and recognises the important role of teachers and education in general, in the social, political and economic reconstruction of post-genocide Rwanda. However, there are a number of inter-related factors that pertain to teachersâ€™ professional development, teacher management and the school environment that pose challenges to sustainable peacebuilding and social cohesion.
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