‘Pakistan’s Curriculum Needs to Be Reformed for Ensuring Religious Harmony’

The educational curriculum in Pakistan needs be purged from all kinds of biased views and hate speech in order to cultivate a forward looking and progressive society.

This was the consensus various speakers arrived at while sharing their views at seminar ‘Reforms in the Educational Curriculum’, held by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in collaboration with National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) here on Monday.

They further added that biased teachings and a distorted world-view has contributed to the present state of intolerance and extremism that has shaken the entire social, political and cultural ethos of Pakistan.

This retrogression and degeneration was the major factor deterring us from achieving peace and progress.

Dr. Arif Alvi, MNA Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, said that correcting our curriculum was the key to nurture the sentiments of love and co-existence in our society.  He said that this should be done as a national obligation and that all stakeholders need to develop a curriculum that fosters empathy and tolerance for all.

Nafeesa Khan Khattak, also representing PTI on the occasion, said that the issues related to education should be dealt with a national approach, regardless of political affiliations.

She said that Pakistan was created to safeguards the rights of religious minorities of that time and hence, we must not forget that the majority today needed to ensure the equal rights of other religious communities living in Pakistan.

Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director SDPI, said that to protect our future generations from the menace of extremism and terrorism, we need to learn about the ideals of fairness and coexistence. He added that we also need to build a counter narrative against extremism and terrorism, as envisaged in the National Action Plan. Besides this, he said, we need a curriculum that promotes respect for all in order to avoid conflict in society.

Earlier, Cecil S Chaudhry, Executive Director NCJP, highlighted the importance of a hate-free curriculum for a diverse society. He said that promoting diversity and tolerance was the only way forward to strengthen the nation as a peaceful , progressive and prosperous society as it was envisioned by Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

Dr. Qible Ayaz, scholar and academician, was of the view that to make our curriculum globally competitive, we need to evolve an approach around ‘CARE’ which is Curiosity, Analysis, Research and Empathy. He said that we needed to make our children socially responsible and allow them to embrace diversity.

Peter Jacob, a senior research scholar, underpinned the need of drastic reforms in the present education system in Pakistan. He said that overlapping various institutional roles in education policy reforms were the major challenges that needed to be redressed on a priority basis.

Amir Rana, Executive Director, Pak Institute of Peace Studies (PIPs) said that removing hate literature from the curriculum was a structural issue. To respond to it, he said, we need a comprehensive policy to reform the system.

Shafique Chaudhry, member Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, said that Pakistan was a diverse country and hence, the religious, cultural and ethnic diversity must be reflected in the country.