Promoting tolerance: Education dept has four weeks to add human rights to curriculum

SHC had ordered the inclusion in a public-interest litigation

Our Correspondent February 03, 2016

KARACHI: The Sindh education ministry was given one month to include human rights as a subject in the secondary school curriculum, in compliance with the order passed by the Sindh High Court (SHC) in a bid to promote peace in society.

A division bench, headed by SHC Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, gave an additional four weeks time at the request of the provincial government for the implementation of the court's earlier orders.

The directives came in a public-interest litigation seeking directives for the federal and provincial authorities to teach human rights at schools. The petition was filed by Advocate Zubair Ali Khaskheli, who had taken the federal and provincial education ministries, the provincial chief secretary and others to the court in 2012.

His lawyer, Rafiq Ahmed Kalwar, said the government should make efforts to bring about harmony in society, which is the need of the time. For this purpose human rights education should be made part of the school syllabus, as has been done in Nepal, he had proposed in the petition.

He maintained that the federal and provincial governments must take steps for the promotion of harmony by introducing human rights education in the school curriculum. Therefore, the court was requested to direct the federal and provincial governments to include human rights' articles of the Constitution in school syllabi to benefit future generations.

During Wednesday's proceedings, Kalwar pointed out that the court had directed the provincial government to introduce human rights as a subject in the secondary education curriculum from the academic year 2015.

"So far nothing has been done with regard to the compliance of the court order passed earlier," he said, alleging that such conduct amounted to committing contempt of the court order. He pleaded the court order the authorities to comply with the court's directive.

Assistant advocate-general Ghulam Mustafa Mahesar made a request for the granting of another four weeks for the education secretary to comply with the court's order.

Allowing this, CJ Shah warned that "in case of non-compliance the education secretary should be present in the court on the next date of hearing."

Published in The Express Tribune, February 4th,  2016.


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