PESHAWAR: Speakers at an orientation session here on Tuesday underlined the need for inclusion of ‘peace education’ in the curriculum of schools and seminaries to promote tolerance, social cohesion and respect for differences among children.
They urged the policymakers to include peace education as an essential part in the school and religious seminaries’ curriculum to make the future generation more tolerant, accommodative and open minded towards a peaceful society.
Around 50 peace activists, academicians and religious scholars participated in the event. They said that peace initiative was the best way to reject violence in all its forms and manifestations.
The speakers said that teachers, parents, local elders, religious scholars and civil society members could also play a vital role in inculcating concepts of peace and tolerance among the young people.
The session on ‘Importance of peace education, tolerance, human rights, interfaith and inter-communal understanding’ was organised at a local hotel by Paiman Alumni Trust (PAT). The participants of the event said that peace education could help to develop sense of acceptance for diversity, respect for all communities, religions and sects among students.
Mussarat Qadeem, executive director of Paiman, in her introductory remarks said that peace education provided opportunities to children to understand the value of tolerance, social justice, participation and the spirit of teamwork.
Speakers say teachers, parents and local elders can play vital role in inculcating concepts of peace among youth
She said that peace education was a long term process to address issues related to excessive violence, extremism and intolerance in the society. “Peace education helps youth minds to internalise the value of tolerance, liberality, harmony and respect for all irrespective of creed, colour or culture,” she added.
MPA Meraj Humayun Khan, a leader of Quami Watan Party (QWP), said on the occasion that contributing to peace initiative was need of the hour for creating space for different communities to live peacefully together.
“Peace is in our blood. We stand for peace education as a society of diverse cultures. No one knows better than us how to practice tolerance, peace and harmony in the socially well-connected setup,” Ms Khan said.
Noted educationist Dr Salma Masood said that the idea of peace education was not something new or different. She said that their religion and culture had been advocating peace, mutual harmony and tolerance.
Ms Masood stressed the need for including contents and elements of peace in school curriculum for building a progressive and modern society with a world view and interactive vision.
Dr Qibla Ayaz, former acting vice-chancellor of University of Peshawar, said that the time had come to educate youth on peace, tolerance and interfaith values. He said their society could only survive through peace initiative at all levels.
“Intrinsically we are a peace-loving society. Islam, Pakhtunwali and peace are synonymous. They cannot be separated from each other. Our religious seminaries and school curriculum need changes regarding peace and tolerance,” Mr Ayaz said. Later, the participants put their signatures on some written resolutions showing a resolve to be part of peace initiative to make it a success story.
At the end, Sabeeha Zeb Afridi, principal of Government Girls Degree College FR Kohat, Darra Adamkhel read out her poem in Pashto which was reflective of her hope envisioning a peaceful environment for girls.
Published in Dawn March 11th , 2015