Peace Education and its Contribution to Peaceful Coexistence among Students in Public Secondary Schools in Nairobi City County, Kenya
Opere, Olivia Achieng’
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There has been an upsurge of school violence (SV) in public secondary schools in Kenya despite numerous efforts to find a sustainable solution. This study therefore investigated the contribution of peace education (PE) towards promoting peaceful coexistence among students in public secondary schools in Nairobi, Kenya. The objectives of the study were as follows: 1) To establish the prevalence of SV in these schools; 2) To analyse the secondary school curriculum content so as to establish the existence of PE content; 3) To examine the teaching approaches used to promote peaceful coexistence; 4) To establish how the participation of students in co-curricular activities enhanced their skills for peaceful coexistence; and 5) To explore the PE strategies used to promote peaceful coexistence among students. The study was guided by the Social Contract Theory and the Transformative Learning Theory to not only gain an in-depth understanding of the underlying dynamics of SV but also provide insights into how PE influences peaceful coexistence. An explanatory sequential mixed methods design was used to first collect quantitative data, and then qualitative data to gain further indepth interpretation of the results. Quantitative data analysis involved calculation of frequencies and cross tabulation of variables. Qualitative data were coded and thematic patterns and relationships identified to give meanings to the statistical patterns that emerged from the data. The study generated four major findings: First, prevalence of violence impedes the inculcation of peace values thereby resulting into lack of peaceful coexistence. Second, the secondary school curriculum and in particular Christian Religious Education CRE and History and Government contain PE content. Third, learner-centred teaching approaches promote values such as cohesion, mutual respect, tolerance, teamwork amongst students thereby creating a non-violent school community. Fourth, co-curriculum activities play an important role in promoting peaceful coexistence amongst students by encouraging interactions, hence neutralising the risk of violence. The study, therefore, concluded that there was limited PE contribution towards promoting peaceful coexistence among students in public secondary schools in Nairobi County. The study recommended a review of the secondary school curriculum by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) to include more PE content especially in compulsory subjects, and to ensure transformative teaching approaches are used to instil peace values that promote positive change of behaviour among learners. Further research should focus on in-depth content analysis of other school documents such as strategic plans, mottos, visions and missions so as to provide further understanding of the contribution of PE content towards promotion of peace.