IICBA Supports the Integration of Transformative Pedagogy into Education Systems in the Sahel Region

From 6 to 10 May 2019, UNESCO's Multisectoral Regional Office for West Africa (Sahel) and the “Institut de la Francophonie pour l'éducation et la formation”, with financial support from the United Nations, organized a workshop in Niamey, Niger on how to integrate transformative pedagogy into education systems as a tool for promoting peacebuilding, resilience and the prevention of violent extremism. Representatives of the Ministries of Primary and Secondary Education of Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Senegal were in attendance. Mr. José Edmond Meku Fotso, UNESCO IICBA Desk in UNESCO Dakar Office, represented IICBA at the workshop.

The main objective of the workshop was to provide guidance for the contextualization of IICBA’s forthcoming “Teacher's Guide on Youth Empowerment for Resilience, Peacebuilding and the Prevention of Violent Extremism through Education in the Sahel” to countries' respective contexts. The workshop and guide are part of IICBA’s “Youth Empowerment for Peace, Resilience and Prevention of Violent Extremism in Sahel Countries through Teacher Development” project, supported by the Government of Japan.

Teachers have a central role to play in the acquisition of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that enable learners to live in harmony and peace with others. In practice, transformative pedagogy is a means developed in this guide that allows teachers to realize this role and become facilitators of learning rather than transmitters of knowledge. Transformative pedagogy is a process that, if properly conducted, leads to “a change in behaviour'', according to Ms. Zeinabou Abani from the Directorate of Initial and Continuing Education of the Ministry of Primary Education, Literacy, National Language Promotion and Civic Education of Niger. For her,

"It is a question of the teacher establishing dialogue and establishing skills in the student that will enable him/her to become aware of a problem, to develop an instinct for questioning, to exchange with his/her entourage to find lasting solutions, and to use the same approach each time he/she faces a problem that concerns him/her or his/her community".

This process allows the learner to be respectful and supportive of his or her community. In this sense, “this pedagogy is a real tool for resilience, peacebuilding and the prevention of violent extremism," Abani continued.

Using a participatory and practical methodology, the following themes were addressed throughout the workshop: the analysis of conflicts affecting students, ethical reflections, skills for resilience and peacebuilding, the evaluation of teachers' and learners' skills and engagement with communities. In particular, the importance, in a classroom, to start from situations experienced by learners to initiate reflection, giving them the opportunity to participate in the identification and implementation of solutions, was highlighted.

At the end of the workshop, the national plans for teacher training on the guide were reviewed. The next step will be for the national teams to adapt the guide to the national context before preparing a training of trainers who will, in cascading, train teachers in previously selected schools.