KARACHI: Is Pakistan a failed state? It is not only the violence and the absence of governance that strengthens this notion, but also the joke that we have made of our education sector. The Pakistani curriculum has been drawing criticism from experts who argue that it is incapable of generating analytical thinking among students. The unusual emphasis on Islamic values interpreted along narrow lines is at odds with the true message of Islam. The bias against India, the glorified Mughal persona and the ‘ideology of Pakistan’ perched on a high altar form the crux of our textbooks. Added to this are all the grammatical and factual errors found in our textbooks, and we ensure that education becomes enshrouded in its coffin, ready for burial.
Textbooks are not supposed to be a mere reservoir of information; they are considered the engine for cognitive growth. Subject matter, script quality, and selection of visual art make textbooks interesting and a resource for better understanding. The shape and structure of a society largely depends on the type of knowledge it is exposed to. Primary textbook information directly impacts a young budding mind.
With terrorism being rampant in our country, have we not become victims of a system that has gone berserk owing to intolerance and religious bigotry? The twisted version of Islamic values imparted through our textbooks has developed a psyche that is always ready to ‘fight’ for Islam but cannot tolerate dissenting views.
We have to bring our students out of the straitjacket their minds have been constrained to. We must give them the liberty to ask questions and allow them to think. The best place to start this reformation is from our textbooks and curricula.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 14th, 2012.
More in LettersNo different from beasts