Team Members: Ahsan Ahmed
SDPI does not stop merely by pointing out the discriminatory educational material in curriculum, but it also proposes alternative text books. In one such effort, our researchers in partnership with UK based Minority Rights Group (MRG) have developed alternative textbooks from class one to ten. The message of tolerance & peace between different religious groups has been disseminated through these text books.
In 2007, a study commissioned by the Minority Rights Group International reviewed the curricula of public and private educational institutions with reference to the representation of minorities in the curricula. SDPI was involved in the second phase of the review, in which ten teaching modules were developed based on the recommendations of the study. These were meant to provide models of education material free from prejudice and anti-minority sentiments. The sources used for the material included a variety of religious scriptures; material on the lives and influence of Sufis, bhagats and yogis; traditional folktales; progressive literary works like those of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Ibne Insha, Prem Chand and Iqbal; and older text books that reflected periods of religious harmony in the 20th century.
The developed modules have been shared with various minority schools for final printing and review. The project has also enlisted the support of the Ministries of Education and Minorities. Some private institutions in Islamabad and Lahore have agreed to adopt selected material, while some community schools in Sindh have also expressed an interest in the material. Efforts for improvement and greater dissemination are still ongoing. Finally, SDPI Senior Research Associate Mr. Ahmad Salim has been given the task of incorporating some of the material into textbooks for grades 3, 6, 9 and 11. The National Book Foundation in Islamabad has agreed to adopt the new text for book publishing.
As part of this project, a minority schools teachers’ workshops series has been planned to develop an orientation of teachers towards the adoption of these text books. The SDPI in collaboration with SHADOW organized this workshop in Samundri, Faisalabad in September 2010. The workshop was designed to create awareness about the new textbooks. Urdu modules were designed to enhance an understanding of the aims and goals of the group. An assessment of the participants was made and feedback from the participants was also taken at the end of the workshop for further improvement. A second series of workshops is planned for schools in Lahore & Islamabad.