In 2004, POST Research Institute conducted the first of the series of Education For Peace Projects in partnership with the Greek Cypriot NGO, AKTI Project and Research Centre. The project focused on the study of 5th Grade elementary school books in order to identify elements that cultivate conflict between the two main communities in Cyprus, and to propose at the same time alternative ways of teaching that will help to create mutual understanding for a smooth transition to a multicultural society. The findings of the project clearly showed that 5th Grade history and social science textbooks promote mutual fear, distrust, resentment and enmity on the island. In addition to violating fundamental European values and principles related to education, they negatively shaped the minds of students and the new generations.
Textbooks do not simply inform students, but also mirror the values and norms
that society wants to transmit to the next generation. The study demonstrated that history is not taught in a critical and balanced way. Concluding remarks warned of an urgent need for a new approach to history teaching based on the idea of reconciliation and developing methodologies to modernise history teaching, producing new textbooks and training teachers accordingly. Once the elements, phrases, hidden messages or historical myths that cultivate conflict, fear, and mutual distrust between the two communities in Cyprus were identified, the project worked on proposals for alternative teaching methods that would not patronise children, but instead would encourage them to think for themselves, and to understand and resolve conflicts peacefully.
For more information on the project please visit our website.
You can find the summary of the Greek Cypriot findings here at the AKTI’s website.