Developing Peace Education in Colombia: A qualitative enquiry of school practice

UoM administered thesis: Unknown

  • Authors:
  • Maria Romero Caro


In 2014, the government of Colombia passed the 1732 Educational Law, establishing a Peace Core Subject in every educational institution in the country in order to create a culture of peace. The Law was framed during the peace negotiations between the guerrilla FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the government of Juan Manuel Santos, and is part of an ongoing governmental effort to build peace through education. Schools are central to this process, and have been given the task of educating pupils by equipping them with the skills to build peace. My study is one of the first to analyse how the 1732 Law is being implemented in practice, and to examine the understandings of peace that underpin it. Drawing upon findings from qualitative case study research in five schools in contrasting contexts in Colombia – Bogota, Medellin, Cali, and Popayan – I explore how schools, and individual teachers, have interpreted and implemented the Law. I examine how schools and teachers teach peace, the understandings of peace they promote, and the ways families are (or are not) involved in the process of teaching for peace. I draw on global theorising about peace and peace education – specifically, ideas of imperfect peace, liberal peace, and peacebuilding, peacemaking and peacekeeping – to develop a detailed analysis of what schools and teachers hope to achieve, how and why, when educating for peace. I demonstrate how, though the 1732 Law represents a top-down governmental approach to promoting a liberal form of peace, there is still considerable potential for grassroots initiatives to flourish. My study shows that teachers and head teachers interpret peace and peace education in relation to their schools’ contexts and their personal experiences; that they share common values, like inclusion and the promotion of loving relationships; and that in general, they focus on individual development, shaping behaviours and promoting individual empowerment rather than seeking to challenge structural and cultural violence. The insights my thesis generates are relevant not just for the context of Colombia, but internationally, because they demonstrate that global theorising about peace and peace education is useful for the analysis of educational practice.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date1 Aug 2020