As reported by Dr. Arvind Singh
In July 2014 students and faculty of Seva Sadan College of Education, Mumbai University, India embraced the opportunity to participate in TPRF’s Peace Education program (PEP). In a ceremony before the first PEP class, Dr. Sunita Magare,Associate Professor and Member of Senate, Department of Education, University of Mumbai, proudly introduced the program and welcomed the participants. Sixty-five of the 71 students at the college, which prepares students to become teachers, had enrolled in the class along with 14 faculty members.
Rakhi Dhingra a research scholar doing PhD on Peace Education under the guidance of Dr. Magre Sunita was continuously studying and analyzing the program by taking notes and participating in the discussion of the themes giving her feedback. The program, which is usually presented in 10 sessions one week apart, ran for 10 consecutive days at Seva Sadan, with enthusiasm building each day. There was so much excitement and participation from students that the expression and reflection periods of the PEP Class were especially lively as participants took the opportunity to share the wisdom they felt they were gaining and relate it to their lives.
Students and faculty alike expressed that they were gaining more clarity on the topics day by day, and their appreciation became obvious as the class remained full in spite of heavy rain and traffic. Many came early and continued their conversations afterwards.
At the end of the 10 sessions, an additional class gave students a chance to express their views about peace in writing and by sharing their thoughts. They wrote at great length about how peace can come into people’s lives as well as how people lose their sense of peace. The day before the ceremony, everyone had a chance to paint a picture of peace to present at the graduation.
One of the faculty members who participated in the PEP class reported, “It was amazing to see that all the students had come together to celebrate the moment of peace.” Another one said, “Never in over 16 years of teaching experience, have I ever seen so much enthusiasm in students that they would sit for hours without getting tired, engaging with a subject like peace.”
Many of the students expressed that they were looking forward to initiating PEP programs in their schools once they become teachers. They felt it was important to stimulate a culture of peace so that when the young people grow up, they can cope with even the most difficult circumstances.
Dr. Beena Khemchandani, Chairman of the Board of Education Studies of Seva Sadan, has recommended the program for other colleges of Mumbai University. Founded in 1966, Seva Sadan College of Education is considered a pioneer college of teacher education and has been named Best College of the University of Mumbai.