When people say children are the future of a nation, journalist Ghazi Salahuddin disagrees. “I believe children are our present and what they will learn today will be implemented tomorrow,” he said.
Salahuddin was speaking at the 16th Children’s Literature Festival at Arts Council on Friday. He said that government and organisations that are working for the betterment of children and promoting education are using the best resources to build better nations.
The panellists at the session, titled ‘Why I Am Karachi? The Role of Children’, interacted with more than 100 children from various schools to discuss their future and the importance of daydreaming.
Salahuddin asked the students present in the hall if they have ever dreamt anything about Karachi. He also shared his own dream that he had when he was a student of class six. “I dreamt that Karachi was a safer place for students and had bigger grounds in schools for us to play cricket,” he recalled.
Salahuddin stressed on the importance of dreaming. “I would request every student sitting in this room to learn to dream and also learn to make your dream come true,” he said.
The session was moderated by Wajiha Naqvi. “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children,” she said, quoting Nelson Mandela. “We should grow up with this thinking and work on how children can contribute to the betterment of society,” she said.
Discussing content and airtime specified for children’s programmes on television, panellist Zara Basharat, a corporate social responsibility official at Express Media Group, explained how the corporate sector does not believe in investing in such programmes because children are more inclined towards video games and computers.
She asked all the teachers in the hall about how many schools in the city had their own debating, cricket and music teams. “Unfortunately, there are a very few schools left,” she concluded. “If we can’t provide good entertainment, at least we can provide extracurricular activities to our children.”
To keep children away from the daily violence and sensational discussions on television, National Academy of Performing Arts head Arshad Mahmud suggested introducing them to music, art and literature.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2015.