We will be observing the International Day of Education on January 24.
This important day was designated by the United Nations in December 2018, to underline the importance of education for development and peace.
Education can play a key role in the development of our communities, and in building of a peaceful world society. It is the most effective way to harness the power of the values, attitudes, behaviours, and skills of our children and youth towards creating a better world.
According to a statement of the Baháí International Community, entitled ‘Education for Peace’: “The basis for peace education is apprenticeship in mutual tolerance, the peaceful resolution of conflicts and respect for ethical values. This should be carried out at three levels: in the family; at school; and in the society as a whole”.
Furthermore, the educational programmes and activities should nurture in our children and youth an appreciation for the richness and importance of the world's diverse cultural, religious, and social systems. They should encourage unity in diversity. In order to achieve this, our educational programmes and activities should be free of all forms of prejudice whether religious, racial, national, cultural, gender based, of class or creed or ethnic origin.
Our school curriculum must become an instrument for promoting peace, and the belief in the unity and oneness of human family must be cultivated in our children throughout their education.
According to the Baháí Writings: “peace stems from an inner state supported by a spiritual or moral attitude, and it is chiefly in evoking this attitude that the possibility of enduring solutions can be found”. Therefore, our educational programmes and activities should place the necessary emphasis on the moral and spiritual education of our children.
It is through spiritual or moral education that children acquire the right values and a good character. It is through such education that they are directed to use the knowledge, tools and means acquired through academic education, for the advantage of humanity. It is therefore important that education, whether at home or at school, leads our children and youth in their moral empowerment as well as their intellectual development.
The type of education that would enrich the mind and spirit of our children would try to develop the essentially moral attributes – including truthfulness, courtesy, generosity, compassion, justice, love, and trustworthiness – whose reflection in our everyday lives can create harmonious, productive families and communities.
Such education, at the same time, should help to instil in every individual the awareness of the fundamental oneness of human family.
“True education,” according to a statement of the Bahá’í International Community, “releases capacities, develops analytical abilities, confidence, will, and goal-setting competencies, and instils the vision that will enable … [individuals] to become self-motivating change agents, serving the best interests of the community”.
Thus, education should be examined in light of its contribution to individual growth and to bringing about transformation in society, which are necessary for the creation of a just, peaceful, and harmonious environment.
Education is a continuous and creative process. Its aim is the discovery and perfection of the God given talents and capacities in our children and youth.
While intellectual, moral and spiritual education of our children are of paramount importance, in addition, an education that would promote international understanding and peace is an essential element in bringing into existence a world where every person may enjoy the benefits of justice, development and peace.