Implement Universal Peace Education Forthwith to Stop Violence in Schools

EDUCATION, 26 Feb 2018

Surya Nath Prasad, Ph. D. – TRANSCEND Media Service

Prof. Prasad,  having experience in the field of peace education for the last 45 years, and writing and speaking on the different  themes of nonviolence, viz. Twenty-first Century School for Nonviolence (Presidential Address at the 7th World Congress, Petersburg, Russia on 22 May1994, and published in International Educator, Vol. 9, No. 1 & 2, and also in Journal of Indian Education, Vol. XX, No. 3, September, 1994);  Peace Education: Medicine and Tonic for Nonviolence (Guest Speech at the 18th IAEWP World Peace Congress in Malaysia 30 October, 2008, and published in Peace and Conflict Monitor – a Journal of UN mandated University for Peace – on  2 December, 2008); Access to Peace Education, published in Encyclopaedia of Peace Education (published by Teachers College Columbia University, New York, USA, 2008); Peace and Nonviolence (Published on the eve of UN International Decade of Culture of Peace and Nonviolence (2001-2010) under the Focus Column of Sang Saeng  (Living Together-Helping Each Other), No. 27, Spring 2010 – a Magazine of Asia Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU) under the auspices UNESCO, Seoul, Republic of Korea); Peace Education as Solution of Terrorism and other Forms of Violence (Guest Speech at The World Forum of Spiritual Culture, Astana, Kazakhstan on October 19, 2010); Peace Education: Concept and Meaning (Published in World Encyclopaedia of Nonviolence by Prakrit Bharati Academy, Jaipur, India, 2010), a Talk on Universal Peace Education for nonviolence at UCN News Channel on 8 January 2013 and a book on Peace Education: Theory and Practice  for solution of violence (published by the same Academy in 2016), in which there is large sub-chapter, which contains the events of violence in schools around the world, and the practical solutions for shootings in schools are given,   and most recently a Chapter on “Universal Peace Education: Concept, Meaning and Practice” included in the book: Pour une éducation à la paix dans un monde violent (FOR PEACE EDUCATION IN A VIOLENT WORLD)  Edited by Obrillant DamusChristoph Wulf , Joseph P. Saint-Fleur , Denis Jeffrey Published by L’Harmattan, 2017: Paris, France,  and reacting on the Connecticut School Massacre where heavily armed  young man stormed in Sandy Hook Elementary School – Newtown, Connecticut and gunned  down 26 people including 20 children on December 14, 2012, and the recent one, the Florida School Shooting where seventeen people were killed and fourteen more were injured in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, USA on February 14, 2018, and knowing over 100 people have died in campus shootings across the US in the last two decades, and observing violence in the educational campuses of  other parts of the world,  advises to all the governments to implement universal peace education forthwith in their  respective nations schools to stop violence in educational institutions.  Here Prof. Prasad describes his concept and methods of universal peace education how it will solve the problems of violence in schools by way of enabling every man and woman to be nonviolent.

Background of Universal Peace Education

Twenty-first Century School for Nonviolence

“Twenty-first Century School for Nonviolence” was the theme of Presidential Address of Prof. Surya Nath Prasad for the 7th World Congress of IAEWP held from 22 to 27 May1994 at Saint Petersburg State University of Pedagogical Art, Petersburg, Russia.

In his address, inter alia, Prof. Prasad said, “Education is not animal training. The education of man is a human awakening. In the past, schools were meant for privileged people of every society of the world. The greatest problem facing the world as a whole world today is how to educate all so that society is rid of exploitation, oppression and violence. In this speech, the speaker Prof. Prasad made a fervent appeal to usher in a new era in schooling by making education more humanistic and universal, thereby leading the society to nonviolence and world peace. He described the philosophy of nonviolence and expressed his hope the 21st Century School will be for Nonviolence giving several citations and suggestions.” This was the main gist of his address. The details are included in the Proceedings of the Congress. The full text of his address was published also in Journal of Indian Education, Vol. XX, No. 3, September 1994, and also in International Educator, Vol. 9, and No. 1 & 2.

Prevalent Peace Education

However, before to tell about his own concept of universal peace education, Prof. Prasad would like to make clear about the prevalent peace education, which is in practice. Today’s prevailing peace education may be any other type of education. But it is not in any way peace education in the sense of making learners – teacher and taught both – the man (human), though a very few have access to it paying high fees. The current peace education means human rights education, tolerance education, pacifist education, disarmament education, women education, education for non-violence, and other remedial education. It means present peace education as value education is through indoctrination and regimentation. Knowledge about these values is dictated to the learners of peace by peace educators (though they are also unaware about true peace education), positive attitude towards these values are inculcated in their minds, and they are trained in skills of these values to practise mechanically. Though they use dialogue and discussion to teach these values of peace, considering pedagogy as the methodology of teaching peace, while it is totally negative education of peace and for peace, as teaching is violence

Universal Peace Education against All Privileges

Prof. Prasad’s universal peace education will consider all men and women equally endowed with universally inherent five elements, viz. body, vitality, mind, intellect and spirit in every man and woman without any discrimination everywhere to be manifested integrally. All knowledge about the five elements is in every man and woman. The idea of privilege is brutal and tyrannical. No man or woman is superior to another. No person is privileged to any one of elements or a few or all, either physical, or vital or mental or intellectual or spiritual.

Thus Prof. Prasad’s universal peace education based on five elements of man and woman is utterly against all privileges, for example, the privilege of being strong, the privilege of having more wealth, the privilege of being more intelligent and the privilege of being highly enlightened spiritually. His universal peace education considers the same power, the same energy, and the same seeds in every man. Therefore universal peace education provides a scope for all to have the knowledge about themselves, and proposes that all should have the opportunity to be manifested. Like the great men and women of the past, everyone can manifest inherent perfection by knowing himself or herself especially the elements which constitute him or her. This is the core of his universal peace education.

Basis of the Concept of Universal Peace Education

In fact, one man’s or a few men’s effort for combating violence, and honouring them for their sacrifice will not make rest of the people non-violent and peaceful. Hence, we should wish, in future, for combating violence, no more Socrates will be poisoned to death, no more Christ will be crucified, no more John Huss will be burned at stake, no more Bruno will be burnt, no more Galileo will be forced to recant, no more Mahatma Gandhi and alike personalities will be assassinated, and no more common masses will be exploited, oppressed and killed, because of violence is committed due to ignorance about the self – the man (male and female both). Christ prayed to the God for those, who executed him saying, “Father, ‘forgive them’ for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Truly, for violence-free society in which there will be no killings, assassination, genocide,   exploitation, oppression, and the other problems, there is an urgent need of knowledge about the self and its realization by every man and woman. One may find the concept of self in the Upanishads – the scriptures of Hinduism, and also the similar views in the sayings and advices of Confucius, Pope, Socrates and Jesus. Upanishads declared: “Know thy self” (atmanam Viddhi). Confucius in China made the same appeal. All thought, and all theories of human activity, are to be based upon a proper understanding of man. Pope said that the noblest study of mankind is man himself (Radhakrishnan and Raju, 1966, p.31). When Socrates was asked by his students in Athens which was the first step toward achieving wisdom, he said: Gnoti te auton – ‘Know yourself’. A few centuries later, when Jesus of Nazareth was asked a similar question, he gave the same reply: Nosce te ipsum – ‘know yourself’. But alas! Even their followers did not follow their advices.

Universal Peace Education for Nonviolence

Dr. Prasad thoroughly studied their advices about the concept of self, and developed the concept of Universal Peace Education on the basis of knowledge and understanding of self – the Man (male and female both).

Nature of Universal Peace Education

Peace education is not a set of predetermined values to be taught. True peace education is man-making education. Hence, it should be free for all leaving none, and in all. Peace education is perpetually self-learning, self-transcending and self-revealing knowledge and practice to be integral man. Thus universal peace education is about the education of the self. Therefore, conceptually peace education is the knowledge of the self, by the self and for the self. And everyone is so solitary to receiving knowledge about his or her self that no any other person or even teacher can enter into the process of his or her learning the self. And through perpetual learning of the self and its integral manifestation, every man and woman will be just and peaceful, and being set right, they will make the world to be set right, because it is easy to help the individual man or woman to be set right rather than to make the world to be set right, and there is possibility, if man (male and female both) is set right, the world will automatically be set right.

Concept of Universal Peace Education

Prof. Prasad’s universal peace education is manifestation of the seeds of integral culture of body, vitality, mind, intellect, and spirit. These elements constitute every man and woman without any discrimination of race, caste, creed, language, nationality and other differences. And this education would continue perpetually till the of life of every man and woman unfolding integrally the treasure of physical, vital, mental, intellectual and spiritual cultures within leading them to be  peaceful and nonviolent. Another meaning of man is that man (male and female both) is made of five elements, viz. earth, air, water, fire and space. These elements are in scattered form in the universe, but these are in consolidated form in man (male and female both). Hence man is called a miniature universe. In this sense, man is full ecology or he or she is in ecological form. Therefore man’s inside ecological disturbance disturbs outside ecology, and also outside ecological imbalance disturbs ecology inside of man.  Therefore ecology inside and outside of man and woman should be nourished and maintained in terms of purity for all the elements to sustain healthy life ecologically leading to nonviolence.

However, both the five elements of man and woman have corresponding meaning as stated below in Table 1.

Table 1

Elements in Man and women

Elements in Man and Woman and their Corresponding Meaning

Earth                                                                                        Body

Air                                                                                           Vitality

Water                                                                                   Mind

Fire                                                                                       Intellect

Space                                                                                    Spirit

And only this type of peace education can lead to culture of peace by unfolding integrated self culture, and failure or partial unfoldment of these elements of culture in man and woman can lead to culture of corruption, war, intolerance, oppression, exploitation, terrorism and other forms of violence.  The following Table 2 shows the weakness, sickness, violence, nonviolence, health and peace as per non-unfoldment, partial unfoldment, and full unfoldment of elements in man and woman.


Showing Sheaths in Man and the outcomes of their Non-Unfoldment, Partial Unfoldment and Full-Unfoldment

Sheaths in Man If fully Not-Unfolded If Partially Unfolded If Fully Unfolded
Physical (Body) Bodily too weak to survive Much prone to Physical Ailments Physically healthy and strong
Vital (Vitality) Vitally unsound Chances to be victim of vital disorders Vitally sound
Mental-Mind Mentally unstable Mentally conceited Mentally stable
Intellectual (Intellect) Intellectually dull Intellectually arrogant Intellectually sharp
Spiritual (Spirit) Spiritually non-awakened and becomes victim of blind faith Chances to become rigid, conservative, orthodox and dogmatic Spiritually awakened and to become catholic and global
Integrated all five Sheaths Oppressed and exploited/ peace less  /  violence committed on the  man Oppressors and exploiters / violent / agitated and aggressive Neither Oppressors and exploiters nor to be oppressed and exploited / non-violent/ peaceful, tolerant and non-aggressive towards all.

If a person fails to manifest his bodily self, he is bound to be physically weak and there would be no chance for him to survive, and if the number of such persons is more, the human progeny may be doubted for the people being lack of bodily manifestation would be physically weak. Due to lack of vital unfoldment, man would suffer with the problems of gas, acidity and cough which affect his other selves also. Mental non-unfoldment makes man unstable. Man becomes dull due to lack of intellectual unfoldment. Failure of spiritual manifestation leads to man spiritually non-awakened who becomes victim of blind faith. If a man fails to manifest all his five sheaths integrally, he becomes victim of violence of corruption, oppression and exploitation which lead to him or her to the state of peacelessness. Partially unfolded sheaths/elements in man and woman lead him/her to physical ailments, vital disorders, mental conceitedness, intellectual arrogance, spiritual rigidity, conservatism, dogmatism and orthodoxy. And finally, partially unfolded sheaths/elements make men and women agitated, aggressive, corrupt, oppressors and exploiters and above all violent, and they are very tyrannical for themselves and others. But in the condition of fully unfolded sheaths/elements, man/woman becomes physically healthy and strong, vitally sound, mentally stable, intellectually sharp and spiritually awakened to be altruist, catholic or global. And if all the five sheaths are manifested integrally, man or woman will neither be oppressor and exploiter nor oppressed and exploited. He or she will be fully non-corrupt, non-aggressive, non-violent, tolerant, altruist and peaceful.

Two-fold Concept of Universal Peace Education

Prof. Prasad’s Universal Peace Education based on five elements of man and woman will be two-fold: first, integral peace education, and second, compensatory peace education.

Integral peace education

Integral peace education will be for coming generations who are supposed their five elements which constitute them are non-corrupt, un-crippled, and raw, pure and very prone to be manifested integrally, if they have opportunity and facility to be unfolded. They are able to unfold the treasure of integrated cultures inherent within themselves leading them to be just, peaceful and nonviolent.

Compensatory peace education

Compensatory peace education will be for today’s crippled generation. We are all crippled in this world. Some are crippled physically, some vitally, some mentally, some spiritually, and many are crippled in all parts of their body. In this sense, haves and have-nots both everywhere, though having enough resources and lack of resources respectively, but due to ignorance about themselves, are suffering from physical, vital, mental, intellectual and spiritual ailments. Though being handicapped, we all are exploiting each other’s weaknesses by committing violence on others or on our own selves through ending our lives by doing suicide or being mentally sick or mad. Hence we all need compensatory peace education for recovery of our integral physical, vital, mental, intellectual and spiritual health.

Thus Prof. Prasad’s universal peace education is for making and sustaining people just, peaceful and nonviolent; preventing them from being victims of violence, and from committing violence; and curing them if they become violent, or victim of violence.

Methodology of universal Peace Education

Prof. Prasad’s methodology of universal peace education will be mathetics (the science of learning), not pedagogy (the science of teaching- as practiced in the current peace education). Because nobody teaches anybody, but we all learn from each other. Prof. Prasad always compares a peace educator or a teacher with a doctor. A doctor operates a wound of a patient, puts some medicines and makes the bandage, that’s all. But no doctor can enter into the process of   healing of the wound of the patient. The healing of the wound will take it own course.  However, the importance of the doctor does not diminish. He/she must be specialized and trained in operation, knowledgeable in proper medicines and skilled in bandages. Similarly a peace educator or a teacher arranges the things through variety of methods, techniques, devices and audio-visual aids so that learning in the learners may occur. But no peace educator or a teacher can enter in to the process of earning of the learners. Learning will take it own course. Here also, the importance of the peace educator or the teacher does not minimize. He/she is supposed to be well-educated in the concept and meaning of man in global perspective through the knowledge and practice of variety of disciplines and well-trained in various methods and techniques of learning with specialization in audio-visual aids.

A Great Hope from the Universal Peace Education

Therefore, let all people of the world be aware of universal peace education based on the five elements as cited above. They should have the resources and opportunity to transcend the physical body and move to higher levels of existence. Through renunciation of the lower self, man achieves a higher self and finally becomes fully just and peaceful means totally nonviolent. If universal peace education based on five elements in men and women is practiced every-where, there would be non-violence, justice and peace in individuals, in societies, and in the world.  Hence all national governments should immediately implement universal peace education in their educational institutions to stop violence in schools including violence in other units of the society – local as well as global.

No doubt, twenty-first century school will be for nonviolence provided universal peace education based on five elements in men women as cited above will be implemented in schools, because these elements are very prone to be unfolded integrally by way of perpetual knowledge and practice of these elements with their proper nourishment which enable them to be naturally nonviolent. Therefore Prof. Prasad advises to the governments to Implement Universal Peace Education Forthwith in their respective nations to Stop Violence in schools. And his advice is also that simultaneously universal peace education must also be for all types of teachers, viz. parents, teachers (class-room), preachers (religious), leaders (political) and rulers (in the states), bureaucrats, judges and lawyers, and other professionals to be acquainted with the universal peace education and to practice it perpetually throughout their lives to make it effective in classrooms to stop violence in schools.


Dr. Surya Nath Prasad, former president & currently executive vice president of International Association of Educators for World Peace (IAEWP), associate professor of education emeritus, former visiting professor, the graduate institute of peace studies, Kyung Hee University, Republic of Korea, founder & editor-in-chief, Peace Education: An International Journal.

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 26 Feb 2018.

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