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Published Date: Jul 31, 2017

SDPI Press Release (July 31,2017)

Speakers Suggest reform in curriculum for inter religious harmony.  

The curriculum at various levels in Pakistan was needed to get purged from all sort of bigoted views and hate speeches to cultivate a forward looking and progressive society. The biased teaching and distorted worldview had contributed in the present state of intolerance and extremism that has shaken the entire social, political and cultural ethos of Pakistan and this retrogression and degeneration was the major factor deterring us to achieve peace and progress. Speakers said this 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.
Dr. Arif Alivi, MN Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaaf, said that correcting our curriculum was a 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 all the stakeholders were needed to be consulted to reach at a curriculum that could respond to the needs of today’s life.
Nafeesa Khan Khattak, also representing PTI on the occasion said that the issues related to education should be dealt with 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 including the provision of unbiased education.
DR. Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director SDPI, said that to protect our future generation from the menace of extremism and terrorism, we need to learn about the ideals of fairness and coexistence. He added further that we also need to build a counter narrative against extremism and terrorism, as envisage in the National Action Plan. Besides, he said, we need a curriculum that should be promoting respects for all to avoid conflict in the society.
Earlier, Cecil S Chaudhry, Executive Director NCJP, highlighted the importance of hate free curriculum for a diverse society and 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 learn the diversity.
Peter Jacob, 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 priority basis.
Senior researcher and renowned scholar Ahmed Saleem emphasized on the need teachers’ training in such a manner that their biasness toward hate literature should not be reflecting in their teaching method. He said that we ought to accept the diversity in our society, and should make it our strength. Religion has nothing to do with education, as our founder of Pakistan envisaged that religion was nothing to do with the state affairs.
 Marvi Sarmad, civil society activist, termed the lack of interest among parents in their children’s education and the way they were being taught as a key issue in our teaching system. She suggested that parents must remain vigilant on what kind of hate was being instilled in the tender minds of children.  In curriculum we are teaching our kinds that only war and bloodshed bring glory, and not the otherwise. She said our text books were full of glorification of wars and bloodshed that must be replaced with information about the ideals of peace and love.
Ammir Rana, Executive Director, Pak Institute of Peace Studies (PIPs) said that removing hate literature from the curriculum was a structural issue. To respnd it, he said, we needed a comprehensive policy to reform the system. Shafique Chaudery, 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.
Dr. Gulab Khilji, Dr. Riaz Shaikh and other said that the provinces at the present were working on coming up with new curriculum. However, their work was facing stiff resistance from certain elements that have vested interests in keeping the society retrogressive.