Cash cuts subvert the defences of peace

15th September 1995 at 01:00
After a summer of commemorations of VE Day and VJ Day, and as we return to schools and colleges for the start of a new academic year, all of us in education must be aware of the particular responsibility we share in living up to the poignant words on the Kohima memorial: "For your tomorrow we gave our today".

The preamble to the UNESCO constitution, signed 50 years ago this autumn, starts: "Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed". This underlines the crucial role of education in developing tolerance and mutual understanding. The Council for Education in World Citizenship was founded in 1939 to support this work and is still the only UK charity dedicated to education for international understanding.

Since 1948 all UK governments have given core funding to CEWC. It is ironic that in the same year in which the Government has spent millions commemorating the last major war in which the UK was involved and in looking forward hopefully to a more peaceful and just future, it should also have announced that it is phasing out its grant for CEWC and leaving it to "the market place" and to individual schools and colleges to pay for our materials and services.

Several 50th anniversaries this autumn give particular opportunities for whole schools and colleges to focus on international understanding and preparing our students for the rights and responsibilities they will face as citizens of our internationally interdependent world.

CEWC looks forward to continuing to work with our many hundreds of member schools and colleges - through publications, in-service training, student conferences and the provision of speakers, information and advice - to help them take forward the messages of this summer's stirring commemorations and to try to ensure that the many sacrifices made 50 years ago for a better world were not made in vain.

PATRICIA ROGERS Director Council for Education in World Citizenship Weddell House 13 West Smithfield London EC1.

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