KARACHI : Education serves the purpose of advancing any given society but what kind of higher education is required in a country that is developing and diverse; should it be multi-disciplinary or specialist, should it be conforming or critical or should it be about providing skills or raising questions?
A public lecture, “Challenging Prejudices, Liberalising Education, Humanising Life,” was organised at the Habib University in Karachi on Thursday to discuss ways through which education can challenge societal prejudices, liberalise and humanise multiple aspects of our lives.
According to visiting British-Indian scholar Dibyesh Anand, education not only imparts skills and the ability to ask questions but can also encourage young minds to promote meaningful discourse.
“Education is not only about transforming lives or the wider society, but it is also about fighting prejudices, injustices and violence,” he said.
For Professor Anand, who heads the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Westminster in London, education needs to be humanised in order to liberate minds. “Challenging prejudices is a good form of education… we must humanise our lives to an extent that they value all lives and acknowledge the prejudices that exist within,” he said.
Anand urged the audience to recognise all lives as equally important so that the dehumanising factors that exist within a society are challenged. “Being liberal is about recognising the differences that exist, respecting those differences and the rights of differences to exist,” he said.
He emphasised on the need to pluralise our ways of thinking and ultimately nurture them in our education systems.
Anand, who has actively campaigned for the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir and Tibet, described why his own individual identity has been an important factor in his life. “My queer identity is not just about my sexuality… it is about questioning violence and injustices in our society,” he said.
The professor pointed out on the need to promote ideas of development that empower the disenfranchised. “Nation-state and religiosity are being used as a tool to subjugate minds. We need to promote alternative ideas of education that empowers the disenfranchised.”