Published Date: Jan 5, 2017
The Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on Wednesday launched a book on ‘Reorienting Educational Efforts for Sustainable Development: Experiences from South Asia’ which addresses the experiences and challenges facing seven countries in South Asia.
The book is part of an eight-book series from different regions and addresses issues associated with sustainability, especially focusing on the need for educational policy and action.
The series aims to counter the prevailing Western character of current research and to enable cross-cultural comparisons of educational policy, practice and project development.
The book launched on Wednesday contains 11 chapters with the chapter on Pakistan contributed by the SDPI’s Tahir Dhindsa.
Mr Dhindsa said that before, education was considered to be only important for fitting into the job market and that with climate change, education has now become vital for sustainable development.
Book on issues relating to sustainability, challenges facing South Asia and need to re-orient educational policy launched
“The world now needs students to stand up to the challenge and change the socio-economic and commercial behaviour. What is needed now is re-directing educational efforts towards sustainable development,” he said.
Speakers at the event emphasises on the need to overhaul the education system in Pakistan in order to produce thinkers instead of job seekers.
They agreed that despite having a strong foundation, the current education system is failing due to the influence of some groups with vested interests.
Higher Education Commission Chairman Prof. Dr Mukhtar Ahmed said bringing the education system of the country at par with that in the developed world was important for reviving the hope of the nation.
“We have always portrayed ourselves as a reactionary nation, thus adopting a proactive approach is one of our biggest challenges,” he said.
He added that a lack of policies was not the problem in Pakistan and that the problem was in implementing them.
He said that for a sustainable change, improvements in the education system needed to be brought in gradually instead of looking for some quick fix.
Also speaking at the event was associate director from the University of Utah, Prof. Dr Tariq Banuri, who said the book provided a list of things that needed to be done for sustainable development and urged that action needed to be taken in regards to climate change.
“The rate with which the temperature is rising in this region is higher than the rest of the world, but we do not teach our children about climate change,” he said.
Dr Banuri said the curriculum does not include anything on climate change and related issues including carbon emissions.
He suggested that the curriculum, research and campus operations be designed so that children can learn about sustainable development and be equipped to deal with the challenges of the future.
SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Suleri said universities should be involved in some way in the policy making process. He added that it is imperative for our education system to encourage critical thinking and a culture of argument and teach students how to build partnerships on different levels for achieving shared goals.