ISLAMABAD: One of the purposes of education is character building which is missing in Pakistan’s educational discourse.
This was stated in a report titled ‘Promoting Inclusive and Tolerant Educational Narratives’ prepared by Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies (PIPS).
According to the report, education had been a factor in ideological radicalisation and extremism in Pakistani society. The challenges identified in the report are discriminatory curriculum.
“There is negative impression of non-Muslims, the role of non-Muslims is not mentioned in the Pakistan movement though Punjab was included in Pakistan through the vote of a Christian S.P. Singha,” it said.
Curriculum designers and textbook writers are not properly trained and sensitised on issues such as religious harmony.
The report says the place for pluralism and diversity has been shrinking.
It also discussed the failture of the state in providing minorities a sense of equal citizenship and security.
“The world is not impressed by Pakistan’s dealing with religious minorities,” the report stated.
The religious minorities consider themselves as second rated citizens and even their children feel discriminated against in classrooms.
The report recommended promotion of dialogue among madressahs, sectarian groups and minority communities. The state should protect minorities, the report added.
It recommended that a balanced curriculum should be introduced, which should have books on different faiths and sects.
“There is need to strengthen the element of research and inquiry in educational curriculum.”
Women education and their role in the society should be promoted, the report said, adding that Madressah educational boards should eliminate all hate materials from their curricula.
Questions regarding social and religious harmony should be made part of teachers’ selection and examination system.
Media should not highlight the events which promotes disharmony, the report added.
Published in Dawn, August 25th, 2016