Creative Action for Chance: Conference report: Strategies for non-violence in education
There is ample evidence of the persistence of violence at all levels of the South African education system. Working on the assumption that change will require active collaboration across all sectors, three organisations held a conference in Durban to sustain work towards non-violence. This article reports the process of working from an understanding of the nature and extent of such violence to a review of current projects and programmes to address it, and finally to a collaborative process in developing strategies for change. Research presented gave considerable insight into how violence operates and how interventions can make a significant difference. Two key disconnects were identified – the gap between the values advocated in policies and those actually experienced, and the failure to see humans as simultaneously physical, spiritual, emotional and cognitive. Learners challenged the practice of tolerating violence as a norm and insisted on the right to learn in conditions of safety. Practitioners demonstrated a range of innovative interventions through presentations and experiential learning. The strategies placed strong emphasis on ways of fostering positive values and ethical behaviour in education, and on promoting the many ways in which people can take creative action for change.