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· Volume II Issue III


Peace Education is manifested in the Qur’an, the sacred book of Muslims. The cornerstone of a Muslim society starts from the term “Islam” which means “submission to the will of Allah". From the perspective of Islam, every Muslim is encouraged to be propagators of peace and justice. Meanwhile, Dewey’s notion of peace education was born from the belief that the development of world peace can be done through instrumentalism and progressive education until later when his idea focused more on values reformation to acquire peace, justice, and equality in the society through the social science approach in the educational process. According to him, in achieving international harmony, there should and must be a significant change first in domestic institutional thinking of people in the society. Both viewpoints of the Islamic and Social Science Approach to peace education are too vital in creating another venue for promoting world peace. As such their guiding principles could serve as a path towards the advancement of peace education.


The connection of Islamic and Social Science Approach offers vantage points for a thorough understanding of peace education. According to Dr. Mustafa Köylü, the idea of peace permeates the daily lives of Muslims. Whenever Muslims meet and greet each other, they say, “peace be upon you,” and “peace be upon you, too” (Hassan, 1987, 96). It is believed that their singular gate pass to the abode of peace is obedience to the will of Allah. Therefore it would be an immense ludicrousness if they do otherwise like the killings of non-Muslim or non-believers, for the Qur’an itself, denounces all actions that incline to disturb the peace and social order. Regrettably, misconceptions and misinterpretation of the teachings of Islam occurred. Commonly Muslims believed that persons in authority of the state/church, represent the true interpretation of Islam teachings thus frequently leads to extremism and the blind obedience of the people. The idea of Jihad, for instance, is commonly misunderstood in Islam. Supposedly, it is a concept that is personal which refers to a daily individual-level internal struggle to serve Allah and become an improved person. Yet presently it often connotes images of “holy war” and “terrorism” rather than an internal and personal struggle to make the world a better place to live in.

The goal of promoting internationalism is the main focus of Dewey’s peace education to which he emphasized the essence of history and geography. Its main objective is to develop an education that will overcome the ill-effects of extreme nationalism and patriotism which he believed to have been a primary cause of war specifically by individual nation-states. It highlighted an establishment of schools that shall resemble a miniature community where a free-flowing interaction of ideas and experiences will transpire among students. Further, he stated that the teacher would merely serve as a facilitator on the exchange of knowledge instead of being a rigid taskmaster which assigns numerous fixed lessons needed to be accomplished by students. His peace education centered more on the vitality of schools as a basis for dynamic change equipped with an educational program that will reconstruct the existing habits, socially and politically.


While Islam in the real sense of the word promotes peace, confused, misused, and abused ideas are presented to Muslims. Viewing their leaders as the sole inheritor of knowledge, Muslims followed them with no questions asked. Another hindrance to peace education in Muslim countries is the model of their educational systems. Oftentimes educational systems in Muslim countries embody the banking concept of education. This model, according to Freire hinders the learners to understand the existing realities of the society for it limits their capacity to interact with the environment. It treats students as objects of assistance incapable of acquiring knowledge without the aid of teachers. Thus, failing to address these problems, peace education will undergo impediments before Muslims can savor education that exemplifies a society with justice, peace, and equality.

Similarly, in acquiring world peace, Dewey stressed the salient role of an educational system that made use of the social science approach. Through geography and history, students will be able to identify the mistakes of the past, reconstruct and reshape the present for the betterment of the future. It postulates the idea of giving focus into the essential facets of the subjects, rather than the trivial aspects of memorizing names, dates, height of mountains, and the length of rivers unless it is in the context of cultural development and providing the social meaning of history.


For peace education to thrive in Muslim countries, first there must be a veritable restructuring of their educational system. Second, a thorough interpretation of the tenets of Islam is necessary to avoid misconceptions of its teachings. And more importantly, every Muslim must not forget the essence of Islam as a religion which is to create a morally upright society. Correspondingly, John Dewey’s concept of peace education through the mechanism of social science approach manifests an enormous possibility of realizing international peace. Indeed, history and geography are both indispensable in fostering a global concept of cooperation and peace through the determination of teachers who are committed to make positive change for the betterment of society. The aforecited subjects shall be a vital instrument in shaping the minds of the young thus making them realize their critical role in the establishment of a nonviolent world or community.


It is interesting to entirely understand the idea of “Jihad” as a daily individual-level internal struggle to serve Allah and become a better person. Despite the growing negativity on the image of Muslims throughout the world, it is worth mentioning that Islam believed in the so-called Second Coming, which Muslims referred to as the Last Days. It reminded them of one universal truth that Allah is the ultimate judge, and this fragile world is not a place of judgment. Its pillars are fixed with the promotion of social responsibility rather than self-interest. Marginally, it may be hostile to other religions but going back to its tenets, it is very clear that, indeed, it is a religion of peace and not a religion of war.

The most essential concept on Dewey’s idea of peace education indisputably is the enormous responsibility placed upon geography and history, the so-called social science approach. Such a method could certainly make a massive contribution in molding the awareness of students by letting them identify and understand the causes of events, their implications to the present, and the future welfare of society. Through this approach, education will not be confined to the four corners of the classroom alone instead it empowers students to interact with society and provides them with knowledge about alternative nonviolent ways to resolve conflicts.


Though nowadays the terms Muslim and Islam seemed to imply fears of terrorism and conflict, Islamic Approach provides a clearer picture towards the likelihood of peace education. It clarifies the concepts and real meaning of Islam and its link to peace education which is relevant in strengthening their educational system in accordance with the true teachings of Islam. In the Philippines for instance, Mindanaoan continues to struggle against conflict, intensifying poverty, deprivation, and oppression for decades. The aforesaid problems are aggravated by inhuman activities such as kidnappings, bombings, and other senseless killings justified on the premise of defending their faith and culture as people. Further, the vileness of terrorism is hidden on the aegis of a religious cause that sacrificed even the lives of many innocent civilians in the crossfire. To promote peace education, it is imperative that the government institute a consistent support in protecting the culture of Muslims and the teachings of Islam by establishing Madrasah Schools. As such, the government not only bridge the gaps between our Muslim brothers and sisters but empower them as well. Peace education will be the pivotal mechanism in abolishing the misconceptions on the tenets of Islam and for Filipino Christians to be cognizant of Muslims’ social, political, religious, and cultural distinctiveness.

Dewey’s notion of peace education underscores history and geography as important players in awaking the consciousness of students by emphasizing the critical role of geography and history in shaping the future of society. It has become the significant elements of Dewey’s social science approach which if used accurately, will be an instrument for reconciliation amidst the emerging conflict in the society. Likewise, it serves as an eye-opener to social science teachers to impart the desired competencies of the subjects rather than bombard their students with piles of insignificant information that have to be memorized and recited.


Undeniably both the Islamic and Social Science Approach presented and affirmed the enormous possibility of achieving peace in our society through peace education. Its realization is dependent however from committed and determined individuals and institutions who must stop at nothing until international peace and harmony is achieved. As for the Muslims, it has something to do with going back to the basics of Islam, which is to surrender to the will of Allah. Islam, as a religion must serve as a tool for liberating the people from the evils of injustice, tyranny, and oppression, not a means for furthering the agony and sufferings of the people. Such can only be realized by having an in-depth understanding of the tenets of Islam. John Dewey’s notion of Peace Education on the other hand will be an instrument in creating positive learning outcomes and awareness of students on how to address the problems of violence using the social science approach. It highlights on the effective use of history and geography that catalyzes in bridging the gaps of other cultures. With the advocacy of dedicated teachers and institutions who are prepared to accept the challenge of incorporating the values of peace and global cooperation, such efforts towards world patriotism and peace will continue to provide hope for mankind to achieve lasting peace.