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Education for lasting peace

Education is part of the strategic directions of the Oman Vision 2040, which emphasises inclusive education, lifelong learning, and scientific research that leads to a knowledgeable society and competitive national talents.

The global community is celebrating International Day of Education on January 24. The day aims at helping decision-makers prioritise education as a tool for promoting societies that value human dignity and peace.

The day also emphasises on the need for inclusive, fair, and high-quality education for everyone and promotes transformative initiatives in this regard.

Celebrated under the theme “learning for lasting peace," this year, Unesco has dedicated the day to the crucial role that education and teachers play in countering hate speech, “a phenomenon that has snowballed in recent years with the use of social media, damaging the fabric of our societies."

With advancements in communications technologies, hate speech, especially online, has become one of the most common ways of spreading divisive rhetoric on a global scale, threatening peace around the world. the Wilayat of mus

The United Nations has a long history of mobilising the world against hatred of all kinds to defend human rights and advance the rule of law.

The impact of hate speech cuts across numerous UN areas of focus, from protecting human rights and preventing atrocities to sustaining peace, achieving gender equality, and supporting children and youth.

“Hate speech is an alarm bell; the louder it rings, the greater the threat of genocide. It precedes and promotes violence,” said António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, in a speech last year.

Hateful messages and conspiracy theories that target and scapegoat specific communities have become increasingly amplified on social media and other online platforms. It is a threat to all communities, according to Audrey Azoulay, Unesco Director-General.

“Our best defence is education, which must be at the heart of any peace efforts. It is our collective duty to empower learners of all ages to deconstruct hate speech and lay the foundations for inclusive, democratic, and human-rights-respecting societies,” Audrey pointed out in a release on the occasion of International Day of Education.

A recent Unesco survey in association with IPSOS conducted in 16 countries revealed that 67 per cent of internet users reported having encountered online hate speech and that 85 per cent were concerned about the impact and influence of disinformation on their fellow citizens, viewing it as a real threat that can destabilise societies.

At the same time, countering hate speech does not mean limiting the freedom to speak. On the contrary, as a Unesco study recommends, it should mean striving to encourage, foster, and protect freedom of expression as a universal human right, ensuring that measures to safeguard individuals and groups from being targeted do nothing to curb access to that right.

Education can help strike this difficult balance by empowering teachers and educators to foster an appreciation of human rights, promote respect for diversity, and cultivate active and responsible citizenship. Education, with its multiple opportunities, can address the root causes of hate speech and sensitise learners of all ages to its forms and consequences, both online and offline.

This policy guide seeks to provide guidance and recommendations on how to better frame, develop, and implement education policies to address the problem.

In the Sultanate of Oman, the government considers education to be the key to all dimensions of development, “as quality education leads to greater prosperity and abundance, improved health, more gender equality, women’s empowerment, and the promotion of equality and peace in society.”

Oman seeks to be among the top ten countries that enjoy world peace. Education is part of the strategic directions of the Oman Vision 2040, which emphasises inclusive education, lifelong learning, and scientific research that leads to a knowledgeable society and competitive national talents.

The Omani leadership, under His Majesty Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik, is committed to nurturing peace and tolerance among students. The Ministry of Education actively incorporates these values into its educational policies.

Education as a right for all, gender equality, and quality education are among the fundamental principles guiding educational work in Oman.

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