Reforming the education system by revising the textbooks and the curriculum is certainly necessary; otherwise the current method of education will carry on poisoning the children’s minds by promoting hostility. The reforms should also include changes in curriculum, teaching methods, and management structures. In addition to the elimination of ethno-centric and racist elements in the textbooks and school practices, the reform strategy should aim for a modern, higher standard of education that is objective, free of political opinion, and brings the education system in line with European standards. Textbooks in national subjects such as history, social science and literature should contain material that is acceptable to all (in the case of Cyprus: that is acceptable for both the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities).
The development of a dialogue between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriots teachers, educators, local NGOs and competent authorities, for reforming the education system has also been initiated through “Education for Peace”, which will hopefully see the next generation of citizens and leaders ready to accept a multicultural and multinational society. The histories of both communities should be jointly prepared and common history should be taught. A bilateral, transparent history understanding should be replaced with the unilateral way of explaining occurrences.
In conclusion, there is a need for an urgent education reform in Cyprus in order to achieve peace and reconciliation, and the “Education for Peace” projects certainly play a vital role in assisting in this reform in the whole of Cyprus, with the long-term aim of a harmonious island. For this reason, POST RI team has decided to continue its work in this area by undertaking the “Education for Peace III” project, with the aim of making a comparative analysis of the secondary school history textbooks, which were once again revised, and providing training to history teachers across the divide.
For further information visit the Education for Peace III website:http://www.postri.org/efpIII/
In June/ July 2010, POST RI compiled results of the latest analysis of the history books in two publications called’ Textual and Visual Analysis of the Old and New Cyprus History Textbooks’ (June, 2010), ‘History Education: A tool for Polarization or Reconciliation’ (July, 2010). These can be obtained in English, Greek and Turkish from the POST RI Office.