Education, Empowerment and Transformation

Editor's Preface

Sri Lanka is taking forward a number of reform processes, including setting up of the institutional framework and policies required for its peacebuilding and transitional justice process. Long-term peace in Sri Lanka will require the creation of political, legal, educational, and cultural institutions that will foster a pluralistic and multiethnic environment. Education is one of the key factors for promoting peace and reconciliation. It is important to recognise that the relationship between education and violent conflict is highly complex and that education systems can be both ‘victim’ and ‘perpetrator’ of war and conflict. Sri Lanka’s aspiration to rise from the conflict depends on how skilled and versatile its people are for analyzing and resolving conflict as well as promoting peace within their communities.

The National Policy on Education for Social Cohesion has highlighted two key pre-conditions that together can result in substantial change towards peace and reconciliation, namely curriculum revisions and school to university level models aimed at strengthening competencies among young Sri Lankans for analyzing and resolving conflict as well as promoting peace within their communities. Moreover, the report points out that, while there were many initiatives that took place over the years bringing together students from different backgrounds, little had been documented about the effectiveness of such programmes.

Given the under-theorized and under-studied nature of higher education and post conflict recovery Loyola Campus: Higher Education at the margins attempts to fill the gap. Loyola Campus and its preferred partner Jesuit Worldwide Learning believe that in Sri Lanka in the post-war context education plays a crucial role in creating a culture of peace and healing that is inclusive and socially just.

The significance of this book is that it will strengthen and inform relevant policies to promote reconciliation and social cohesion. It will inform programmes towards promoting peace through Education. It aims to influence policies to revise and implement and to strengthen the development of competencies related to the conflict resolution, conflict prevention and promotion of peace and to develop a system for research, monitoring and evaluation. The research effort will also compliment the exiting work done on Education for Social Cohesion and Peace.

The study could expand conceptual and empirical understandings of the understudied relationship between education and reconciliation and its potential for addressing and repairing the divisions of conflict. Each chapter will contain a summary to enable easy navigation.

Thiranjala Weeresinghe
Manager, Academics and Finance
Loyola Campus
Sri Lanka