ASIA/PAKISTAN – Civil society’s call on the government: don’t teach hatred towards minorities in schools
Karachi (Fid Agency The Constitution of Pakistan states that “no person attending any educational institution shall be bound to receive religious instruction, participate in any religious ceremony or attend any religious worship, if such instruction, ceremony or worship relates to a religion other than his own”.
We ask that this article be respected as it promises the protection of religious minorities in the learning environment,” says Catholic leader Peter Jacob, director of the Center for Social Justice (CSJ), an organization active in promoting the rights rights in Pakistan, to Fides.
In light of a conference jointly organized by the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of the Catholic Bishops of Pakistan, Jacob notes: “We request that a Commission on Educational Reform be established, which examines previous education policies. No one has ever analyzed the content of our textbooks and the side effects that occur in our society for years”. “It is necessary to strengthen inclusiveness in education – observes the leader – especially vis -towards religious minorities and marginalized groups. The teaching of Islamic content in compulsory subjects is unfair as even students from religious minorities are thus forced to study and pass exams in these subjects.” CSJ appreciates the government of Sindh province which has changed the curriculum education taking into account the ethnic and religious diversity existing in the province. NCJP also analyzes the unique national curriculum adopted in Pakistani schools to provide relevant suggestions. Christian and Muslim experts share the call to adopt, follow and to implement a “one national curriculum” for education, in line with international standards. Among academics, Riaz Shaikh, Muslim, Dean of the Department of Social Sciences at the “Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology” in Islamabad, agrees to point out “issues of discrimination and gender in the national school curriculum”, which then, he recalls , “it is neither followed nor implemented in the madrasas, the Islamic seminaries”.
Tauseef Ahmed Khan, a member of the Pakistan Human Rights Commission, notes with concern that “our program includes content that sows hatred towards minority groups and it becomes a source of hatred in the hearts of students for the first time. as early as 2004. We need our students to absorb content that speaks of peace, harmony and justice”.
Kashif Aslam, Coordinator of the NCJP Program, speaking to Fides: “We have done an excellent job over the past ten years to remove hateful elements from school textbooks. We don’t want them wasted. We must eliminate content that fundamentalism and also to violence”.
Members of human rights and civil society associations hope that “the government will make sincere efforts to save education from any degeneration” and that the education system is inclusive and respectful of equal opportunities , so that all children can receive a quality education. (GA/PA) (Agenzia Fides, 5/8/2022)