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Post conflict education – to rush or slow down?

The trickiest part in post-conflict education is deciding how to move forward. A school of thought is presently advocating for accelerated curriculums. This school of thought believes that already enough time has been wasted and education must be ‘restored’ as soon as possible. The students will forget all the other concepts and be left far behind in this rat race. The problem with this approach is that if we rush into this, we are leaving unresolved trauma. In fact, we are brushing it under the carpet. We fail to realize that these students are no longer what they used to be before the conflict. The conflict is bound to have a significant effect on the student's mental health, and not addressing it properly will only worsen everything. This could result in toxic coping mechanisms, unhealthy attachment styles, and a myriad of other problems. Another factor that it is primarily present in the global south is that issues aren’t ‘real issues.’ However, there’s a reason why post-conflict education is so tricky. Post-conflict education should progress at a very slow pace, and special attention should be paid to students’ mental health. Schools should focus on healthy outlets, which could be in the shape of therapy, arts, or any other form. Teachers should also be trained again, even the ones who taught before should attend these training. It’s essential that they understand that the students they’re dealing with are not the same, and these are extraordinary circumstances where they must proceed with caution. To sum it up, rushing through the syllabus and ensuring that minimal time is wasted and ‘parhai ka kam say kam harj ho’, is a recipe for disaster. In an attempt to save time, we end up doing lifelong damage, which is detrimental, to say the least.


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an important post!

i would just like to add to the teachers part where you mention that they should be trained to deal with students. it is important to note that these teachers would also have gone through traumatic experiences during the war and hence they also require psychological support. only then can they be able to deal with students properly. i also think that it is the teachers' issues that are often left out or given less attention in such policy-making processes and it can ultimately reverse many efforts put in the education of the students being taught by these teachers

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Like you said, issues regarding psychological trauma are considered non-issues in the Global South. Even outside conflict, mental health issues like depression or burnout are paid no heed. ADHD and Autism too is generally undiagnosed or not considered "real". Adding conflict related trauma into this mix means that students must be given concessions and support in attaining education. While teachers should be trained in this regard, the faculty should also be supplemented by therapist and psychologists, because I believe teachers may not be fully equipped to unpack these students' trauma and professional help may be better for them.

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You have pointed out something very important that is often left unaddressed when it comes to regulating policies for post-conflict resolutions. It is very important to re-assess the situation because students now need a different kind of support after witnessing the events of the conflict. If their mental and emotional concerns remain unsolved, then there's no point of new educational syllabuses because the students will not be able to utilize them or reach their full potential until their mental health is prioritized.

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There are pertinent examples of the effect of conflict on education. There is an instant and lasting impact on education in times of conflict, for e.g.: the shooting of Imran Khan caused the closing of educational institutions all over the province. Hence, education is first to suffer in times of conflict. From a holistic view, to reintegrate students, teachers, and staff back into the educational system post-conflict can be tricky. Emotional and psychological factors need to be accounted for and the gap which is created by the conflict needs to be filled through gradual progress in the methods and subjects of teaching. It is important to consider the individual learners’ needs, preferences, and dispositions.

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