Discussions over Tea (Of course, cutting maar ke)

Wednesday, July 09, 2003
On why the future's grey for Pakistan

You see it in the print media. You hear in on the news. You hear of Musharraf trying to convert the entire state of Pakistan into a moderate, Islamic state. You see the smiling images of Mian Musharraf trying to come to an "amicable" resolution for the Kashmir issue. What you don't see, is the hate the state is breeding in the future of tomorrow.

A study was undertaken by the "Sustainable Development Policy Institute" on the following topic - The Subtle Subversion: The State of Curricula and Textbooks in Pakistan.

The noticeable results of the study are stated below.

� Inaccuracies of fact and omissions that serve to substantially distort the nature and significance of actual events in our history. (Example: Indian history has been deleted till the point where Muslim invaders arrived in India)
� Insensitivity to the actually existing religious diversity of the nation
� Incitement to militancy and violence, including encouragement of Jehad and Shahadat
� Perspectives that encourage prejudice, bigotry and discrimination towards fellow citizens, especially women and religious minorities, and other nations.
� A glorification of war and the use of force
� Omission of concepts, events and material that could encourage critical self-awareness among students
� Outdated and incoherent pedagogical practices that hinder the development of interest and insight among students.

The group studied curriculum documents and textbooks in the disciplines of social/ Pakistan studies, Urdu and English from class I to Class XII with the view that it is in these three disciplines that shape an individual's worldview. The curricula and textbooks are prepared by the Curriculum Wing of the Government of Pakistan, and the provincial textbook boards.

Among the significant issues with the educational system in Pakistan, is the belief that Islam is the only religion to be followed. This belief has been prevalent right from their Independence when the decision was taken to follow an Islamic ideology while shaping the curriculum.
This is exercised to such an extent that the belief is instilled right from childhood that Pakistan is an Islamic state, meant only for muslims and that Hindus and India are to be hated. The Constitution is misquoted (originally required only Muslims to learn the Quran), and now Islamiat (and the reading of the Quran) should be taught to all students (irrespective of their community). Lies are concocted in history to pluralise the hatred for India and the Hindu community.
Also, a strong emphasis is laid on Jehad and the importance of understanding martyrdom and sacrifice for Islam. This taught to such an extent that at one point of time, the following courses were part of the curriculum in XI and XII in the 70s-80s : (a) War (b) Military History (c) Economic of War (d) Military Geography (e) Defence of Pakistan (f) Special Military Studies .
The Islamic treatment of women has been "interpreted" by clerics and orthodox Islamists and that has been made apparent in the books by a gradual brainwashing through the ages in Pakistani society.

What is being done is a systemic breeding of hatred, contempt and rage against any non-Muslim country/individual. Perhaps, this would be negated to the upper- or middle-classes by a world view achieved through non-curricular media, but what about those who aren't exposed to the rest of the world and learn only through their books and their "teachers"? Is this the moderate tomorrow, Musharraf is looking at? It's a pity that an educational system is often neglected in most developing countries.. India is making steps to revise that, but needs to provide a worldview to the villages and non-urban individuals.

Update: For a reference to changes in the Indian educational system, take a look here. It documents the changes in the WB curriculum to add secular views to the educational system.

Other news: I saw "Main Prem ki Diwani Hoon" last night. My comments: Bleh!

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