Analysis and Questions Based on Educating Children in Conflict Zones

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For starters, it is necessary to identify the concept of conflict zones themselves. Obviously, this is one component that is examined at length throughout the course of this book. According to the book itself, conflict zones, broadly speaking, are areas of conflict involving armed violence over government or territory, which tends to greatly disrupt the lives of citizens in the process (Mundy & Dryden-Peterson, 2015). This means that conflict zones can be extrapolated to apply to a large number of different dimensions and concepts, not just these specific areas. To contextualize these results, there will be an examination of one key case study found in Ethnographies of Schooling in Contemporary India, which takes a look at struggles that Muslim girls are facing in specific geographic areas. Gujarat will be the key case study location that will be used here, although Kashmir is another area that also encapsulates many of these concepts that will need to be examined.

Next, it is necessary to take a closer look at the concept of fragile states, which is another of the core areas that the book examines. According to another source, the notion of fragile states encompasses that of countries that are beset by conflict, which, fundamentally, negatively impacts their capacity to implement policies that improve the poor or protect themselves from future attack (Palmer, Strong, Wali & Sondorp, 2006). Looking at it from this perspective, it is easy to see how this can be detrimental for youths in particular. 

Of course, allocating aid to these fragile nations is, as it should be, a major priority, but as the book itself points out, this is not always as easy as it might seem. Indeed, another article states that these fragile states are even more reliant than others on donor communities, with implications here stretching toward many countries including those in the Middle East (McGillivray, 2006). 

Many of the core concepts of fragile states can be observed within Gujarat, and the primary case study mentioned in Chapter 6 of this book here states that becoming a citizen in Gujarat, for Muslim girls, is oftentimes a harrowing affair, requiring the balancing of a large number of different components (Thapan, 2014). This is because of the mixing of sociological components here.

The third chapter of the book here takes a closer look at the concept of what is known as Domains of Fragility. This chapter takes a closer look at some of the specific components that are involved here, along with the spectrum of impact. Essentially, these domains of fragility impact many countries, including India, in five key ways. One of the sources here states that each of these five key ways that this impacts other countries alludes to specific socioeconomic components within each (UNESCO, 2011). 

More specifically, these five key components aligned with the domains of fragility include governance, security, economy, social domain and environment (UNESCO, 2011). Each of these can be extrapolated to apply to India in some way, but of these five factors, it seems that the one perpetuating many of the issues facing India is that of the environment. As this same source points out, a weak level of environmental management as well as environmental degradation, exacerbates these domains of fragility, leading to long-term issues in countries such as India (UNESCO, 2011). 

There are a number of questions that can be asked based on the mapping of domains of fragility as well as the spectrum of impact. These each allude to the specific issues and conflicts that can be observed in India. For instance, one of the most prominent of questions is simple: How can insurgency in Assam be prevented? Naturally, many of these questions and their implications can be extrapolated to apply to other dimensions within India as well, but Assam is one of the most prominent. 

Assam and Kashmir both contain large amounts of violence and conflict primarily because of political, religious and ethnic differences and disagreements, fundamentally. This case study mentions that there are numerous political, cultural and economic elements that are able to be observed within the communities here, and this causes violence to spread geographically as well (Thapan, 2014).

Assam is struggling for similar reasons, as has also been examined in other works of literature. This is because there has already been a great deal of violence in Assam, degrading the overall health of the area as a whole and necessitating the proactive involvement of the NRC in Assam. This alludes to the specific dimensions within the domains of fragility as well. Furthermore, another source states that although there have been increasing efforts in terms of counter-insurgency, the lack of proper political settlement means that long-term solutions will continue to be elusive (Baruah, 2009).

Therefore, another question that should be asked is: how do these concepts of insurgency apply to the northeast violence as well as Kashmir? The answer is simple: violence is perpetuated wherever there is a lack of strong political presence, and Assam functions as something of a litmus test of these concepts. The spectrum of impact can be easily observed in the NRC in Assam, namely in terms of their ability to prevent these sorts of examples of violence from perpetuating in the first place. 

The main case study also shows how there are specific spheres and processes within the purviews of education in Gujarat that prevent education from being able to be facilitated, thereby laying the foundation for a long history of both violence and discrimination here (Thapan, 2014). Fundamentally, the case study finds that a lack of education surrounding citizenship, in particular, is one of the core ways that violence is able to be perpetuated within this particular context (Thapan, 2014).

Next, it is necessary to take a closer look at Chapter 5, which takes a look at gender disparities as they relate to education during times and areas of crisis and post-crisis. To that end, the book states that these crisis situations affect tens of millions of girls, preventing them from accessing education, but, simultaneously, can also sometimes create windows of opportunity that might not have existed otherwise (Mundy & Dryden-Peterson, 2015). This means that it is possible to partially ameliorate these gender disparities. These gender disparities can be easily observed within the Gujarat case study because Muslim girls were systemically discriminated against throughout the case study. 

More specifically, the book examines the quality of education, or lack thereof, as it correlates to girls. The book states that safety and security, as well as the relevance of curriculum as well as the learning content itself, each overall impact the quality of instruction as a whole (Mundy & Dryden-Peterson, 2015). Exacerbating this, as the book states, is that of gender-based violence, or GBV (Mundy & Dryden-Peterson, 2015). This can cause girls to be too afraid to even acquire an education in the first place. 

India has historically struggled with women not being able to attain an education at the same level as men. One of the key reasons for females here not being able to attain an education, in this regard, is because this GBV has become the status quo. Indeed, it is clear that violence against women, particularly in developing countries, has become the most pervasive violation of human rights in contemporary society, leading to these sorts of issues wherein women are bullied into not getting an education disturbingly common. Many of these concepts correlate with some of the other elements examined in the book, such as that of these Domains of Fragility. These elements are also disturbingly common in India in particular as well.

The Gujarat case study also encapsulates many of these elements of fragility, looking at how there are specific factors and concepts that are associated with being both a good Muslim and a good Muslim girl, with many of these concepts simply not being able to be attained by these Muslim females, creating the foundation for even more violence as has already been observed (Thapan, 2014).

Chapter 6 will be examined next. This chapter is one that utilizes case studies to take a closer and more technical look at refugee children and how they suffer from conflicts more than other groups. The specific case study that will be examined here is one that involves educational experiences of refugee, as well as national, children within the refugee-hosting areas within Uganda (Mundy & Dryden-Peterson, 2015). 

More specifically, the book states that it is possible to construct future livelihoods, largely foregoing the short-term goals, by focusing on education, with Annette being one of the specific children that are examined here (Mundy & Dryden-Peterson, 2015). The book states that Annette had lived in Kyaka II in west Uganda for two years, with Annette actually feeling happier living there because of the availability of education (Mundy & Dryden-Peterson, 2015). Essentially, this education allows for the livelihood of children's lives to be increased, which is especially important when they have been displaced. 

Many of the same concepts that can be observed within the case studies of the book can also be observed in India as well. For instance, within Gujarat, one source states that two-thirds of women had experienced some form of psychological, physical, or even sexual abuse (Simister & Makowiec, 2008). One of the issues within India unilaterally, though, is that convicting these perpetrators is oftentimes difficult, meaning that this violence is allowed to spread and fester in much the same ways as in the case study in Uganda that was examined by the book.

The Indian context here also helps to show how a lack of connection to one's country and community can further engender this violence in one way or another. The case study shows that these senses of community include that of loyalty and patriotism, formulating a close relationship between the concepts of citizenship and nationalism (Thapan, 2014). If this is able to be accomplished in Gujarat, there is little doubt that the violence plaguing the area could be significantly reduced.

The key takeaway here is that education, whether it be within Uganda or India, can ensure that this violence is not allowed to fester and reach the boiling point that it seems to have in Uganda. Therefore, it seems that India has taken steps to ensure that this will not happen, focusing more, at least in part, on the education of females, although there are still numerous hurdles to this.

Chapter 9 takes a look at the relationships that exist within the purviews of both education and conflict, with Rwanda being the key litmus test that is utilized by the author here. Namely, there are six relationships that are discussed here, and each of these relationships alludes to differing aspects within not just the contexts mentioned in the book, but within India as well. 

One of the articles here takes a closer look at Rwanda, just as this chapter does, and in the process identifies parallels that can be observed with the six relationships mentioned by the book. The first of these is simple: control. The article states that there is something of a negative face, as it is called, within education in Rwanda, and this frequently makes it difficult for this education to be achieved because of constant humanitarian concerns that, in the long-term, also lead to violence (Walker-Keleher, 2006). 

Because of this, violence within Rwanda is oftentimes correlated with education. Another of the ways that this violence and education formulates a relationship that is mentioned throughout this article is the curriculum itself. The author here states that subjects such as pre-genocide history as well as civics inherently include large numbers of allusions to violence themselves (Walker-Keleher, 2006). This can make it challenging to separate the education from the violence. 

Systemic practices is another of these relationship components that are mentioned in the book as well as this article. The author here states that there are longstanding practices within Rwanda, as well as other areas, that engenders violence, including that of mandatory racial identification, which further exacerbates violence (Walker-Keleher, 2006). This formulates clear relationships between education and violence here. 

Practices in the classroom itself are another of the relationships that are mentioned here, and they serve to undermine many of the efforts that have been made in terms of advancing education within not just Rwanda, but many other countries as well. To that end, this same source states that these classroom practices contribute to violence primarily because of what is not there, rather than what is there, including a lack of critical thinking, student discussions and, most importantly, that of collaborative learning (Walker-Keleher, 2006). Each of these components is necessary for a retrospective education but seem to be sorely lacking in Rwanda, among other countries. 

Next, it is necessary to more closely examine the lack of an effective hierarchy for cognitive educational objectives here. These concepts can be applied easily to Kashmir within India, but even on a more general level, are prevalent. The same source here finds that one of these core relationships between education and violence is a lack of what is called the Bloom Hierarchy of Affective and Cognitive Education Objectives (Walker-Keleher, 2006). This makes the violence in Kashmir as well much more difficult to control.

This is because, within India, many of the most violent of regions, including Kashmir itself, lacks strong educational underpinnings, and this makes it all the more difficult for proper education to be elucidated here. To that end, another of the relationships here that can be observed within Kashmir in India is that of conflicts and education both becoming more international. 

This component is one that affects Kashmir primarily because it is situated in a part of the country that sees large amounts of change, as well as people, exacerbating this issue in a number of ways. This concept is one that is observed in another article, which states that there are numerous ethnic conflicts within Kashmir in particular and that religion serves as the key factor within these ethnic conflicts (James & Özdamar, 2005). 

Looking at it from this perspective, Gujarat is something of a staging ground for a large number of different conflicts, and one commonality that can be observed within each of these conflicts is that they all involve some sort of major lack of proper education within each of their components. Furthermore, Gujarat contains a large amount of diversity in terms of both race and religion. 

It seems, then, that a lack of education surrounding this diversity is one of the driving components of the violence here, and this is another of the relationships that are emphasized throughout the course of this chapter. Furthermore, this same article also states that the application of what is called "systemism" helps to elucidate the core foundational factors within the realist school of international relations, showing how all of these parts do and, sometimes, do not, work together (James & Özdamar, 2005).

The result is a large amount of violence within Gujarat, among other parts of India, that is not able to be controlled because of a systemic lack of education within these parts, as well as lack of other key sociological components that have proven to be crucial. A lack of political presence also apparently contributes to violence, as another source states that in the examples they looked at, the amount of lethal violence was weakest where the presence of the Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, was the weakest, as well as where it was strongest, implying electoral competition (Dhattiwala & Biggs, 2012). 

Within the purview of Gujarat, in particular, this violence encompasses profound cultural differences, and, throughout this case study that was examined here, as well as the individual concepts that can be found throughout the book, it is clear that there is a strong cultural foundation for much of this violence, providing a context for how and why this violence is able to be precipitated so quickly and easily, in many cases. 

Within these conflict zones, then, religion and gendered norms are two of the precipitators of conflict primarily because of their obvious correlations with education as well as culture in general. The case study looks at this concept as well, stating that there are cultural norms including concepts of respect, shame, and deference that are especially prominent within Gujarat, stifling efforts on the part of youths, especially girls, from attaining an education and furthering themselves (Thapan, 2014). Ultimately, it is clear that Gujarat, as well as other parts of India, are struggling with examples of violence, and this main case study, as well as what has been written throughout the book, shows that a lack of proper educational foundation is what contributes to this violence the most obviously.

References

Baruah, S. (2009). Separatist militants and contentious politics in Assam, India: The limits of counterinsurgency. Asian Survey, 49(6), 951-974.

Dhattiwala, R., & Biggs, M. (2012). The political logic of ethnic violence: The anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat, 2002. Politics & Society, 40(4), 483-516.

James, C. C., & Özdamar, Ö. (2005). Religion as a factor in ethnic conflict: Kashmir and Indian foreign policy. Terrorism and Political Violence, 17(3), 447-467.

McGillivray, M. (2006). Aid allocation and fragile states. Fragile States: Causes, Costs and Responses, 166-184.

Mundy, K., & Dryden-Peterson, S. (2015). Educating children in conflict zones: Research, policy, and practice for systemic change--a tribute to Jackie Kirk. Teachers College Press.

Palmer, N., Strong, L., Wali, A., & Sondorp, E. (2006). Contracting out health services in fragile states. BMJ, 332(7543), 718-721.

Simister, J., & Makowiec, J. (2008). Domestic violence in India: effects of education. Indian Journal of Gender Studies, 15(3), 507-518.

Thapan, M. (Ed.). (2014). Ethnographies of schooling in contemporary India. SAGE Publications India.

UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP). (2011). Understanding education’s role in fragility: Synthesis of four situational analyses of education and fragility: Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Liberia.

Walker-Keleher, J. (2006). Reconceptualizing the relationship between conflict and education: The case of Rwanda. Praxis, The Fletcher Journal of Human Security, 21, 35-53.