ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Rewriting the 'Curriculum of Hate'

Updated on May 29, 2015
Source

We live and interact in an increasingly globalised world. In the contemporary world, it is vital to be mutually considerate. Quintessentially, History teaching is an indispensable ingredient of our formal education that can enhance awareness of the wider world, and can ensure the promotion of peace in post-conflict societies or in situations where conflict is taking place. In the context of education, Pakistan is an intriguing case. It is a country of over 190 million people - 33.3% of whom are in the age range of 0-14 years and 21.5% fall in the 15-24 years range - with total area that is almost twice the size of California, as per the World Factbook. While just about half the population is of school age, the country's youth is "frustrated and angry", aided by the extremely poor learning outcomes of schools. The Education for All Global Monitoring Report acknowledges the miserable state of Pakistani education system, and asserts that the government spends seven times more on the country's military than on primary education. During a probe into the country's ailing education sector by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the former Chief Justice of our apex court said: "There are animals kept in schools and the buildings have been turned into stables. This is what we are doing to our children when education is a constitutional right".

Moreover, in the report The Hidden Crisis: Armed Conflict and Education, UNESCO maintains that the country's national curriculum glorifies war and focuses on the Hindu-Muslim and Shia-Sunni conflicts through incorporated contents that promote self-serving propaganda. The post-1971 textbooks of History contain vivid examples of hate material that do not offer historical narratives "but rather a carefully crafted collection of falsehoods". Generally, education has been employed by numerous actors around the world to advocate certain ideologies- good or bad. But it is History education in particular that has been influenced by governments throughout the world. For instance, there is a widespread consensus that history taught in the schools of Rwanda advocated the regime's ideology, i.e. propagating "colonial stereotypes" and emphasising the country's ethnic groups' "separate geographical and racial origins", writes Lyndsay Hilker, a lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Sussex. In this regard, during the interviews conducted by the African Rights in 2001, numerous Rwandese teachers saw a direct link between the genocide and history curriculum. One teacher expressed his view in the following way: "The contents of the history course, which used to be taught in primary schools, had a direct bearing on the genocide of 1994. It concentrated exclusively on ethnic divisions ... [and] children used to learn them by heart as if they were the gospel truth". Correspondingly, during the Belgian and German colonial periods, the textbooks would passionately praise the ‘gifted’ Tutsis and describe the Hutu as "unintelligent, meek, and suitable for manual work”. Likewise, history curriculum writers of the Nazi era, as Lisa Pine notes in her book Education in Nazi Germany, emphasised "the significance of German blood in history teaching", and referred to the Jews as "enemies of the Reich". in Pakistan too there are tensions between the national and international educational aims, i.e. both global and local forces are competing to dominate the national narrative.

A review of the curriculum was carried out by Peace Education And Development foundation, an advocacy and training organisation, which concluded that the contents inserted into textbooks of schools and colleges in NWFP (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan are "not in sync with the current socio-political realities because of their controversial, discriminatory and gender insensitive nature". The dilapidated education sector of the province managed to grab international attention after the United States of America launched Operation Enduring Freedom in the neighboring Afghanistan as part of the global War on Terror. While looking into the causes of growing militancy in the province, as noted by Winthrop and Graff in their report for the Brookings Institution, the concerned international community recognised "the education system's power to shape students' worldviews and thereby either instill a more militaristic or radical outlook, or help students challenge extremist beliefs and develop more constructive and tolerant alternative realities, thus reducing the likelihood that they will support or join militants".

The madrassa (religious school) education system in Pakistan has been under the international spotlight since September 11, 2001. The 9/11 Commission Report views Pakistani madrassas as sources for the propagation of militancy, which fueled concerns regarding these religious schools. However, in a study conducted for the World Bank in 2005, the "highly inflated" claims of numerous reports with reference to the increasing enrollment in madrassas, including that of the 9/11 Commission Report, were refuted by the authors- emphasising that the madrassa sector in Pakistan "accounts for less than 1 percent of overall enrollment in the country". Some researchers also assert that there is no major link between extremism and madrassas in Pakistan, as noted by C. Christine Fair in The Madrassah Challenge. In June 2010, whilst quoting the Brookings Institution report, the BBC maintained that "the real cause of militancy" is the country's public education system, and therefore, "the almost exclusive focus on madrassas as a security challenge - which is especially prevalent in the West - needs to be corrected".

With reference to public education system, the issue came into limelight only after a study was released in November 2011 by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. The study surveyed 37 public schools in the four provinces of Pakistan, interviewed 277 teachers and students, and analysed the contents of more than 100 textbooks from grades 1-10. It repeatedly emphasised the need for "basic changes to the texts" in order "to present a history free of false or unsubstantiated claims". In fact, numerous curriculum reforms have been administered by various governments in the past to look into the 'false or unsubstantiated claims'. However, none of those reforms truly addressed the underlying problem, and in many cases the beautifully crafted reform proposals only remained on paper. For instance, in a study authored by Peter Jacob, executive director of National Commission for Justice & Peace, textbooks for grade 5 to 10 were thoroughly scanned in the province of Punjab. The study revealed that the 'hate content', in total, appeared 12 times. In response, the government revised the curriculum in 2012. In the revised textbooks, 'hate content' now appears 33 times, concluded the same study. Ironically, the government is well aware of that. A document under the Pakistan National Education Policy Review acknowledges the fact that there is "no mechanism for feedback once the curriculum is implemented and, in any case, the government lacks the requisite evaluation capacity".

Moreover, no in-service training on effective pedagogy is provided to the teachers. This implies that by removing the hate content or inaccurate description is not enough as we also need to focus on how history is taught in our classrooms, and how students are influenced through that instruction. In History teaching, it is fundamental to pay “attention to more than discrete items of information”, argues the book titled Teaching History for the Common Good. The content of the textbook, the what, greatly depends on the how, the teaching strategy chosen by the teacher. If dialogic pedagogy is absent is the classroom, the democratic instruction and learning cannot occur. Therefore, our national curriculum needs to be revised. As curriculum design, planning, and pedagogy fall under the purview of the provinces, according to the 2010 18th Amendment Bill, the relevant provincial bodies must address this issue. Without meaningful education reform with reference to History teaching, "Pakistan is living in delusion", says Ayesha Jalal, a professor of History at Tufts University. We need to recognise, as noted in the Aims of School History National Curriculum that "the reason for history teaching is not that it changes society, but that it changes pupils, it changes what they see in the world, and how they see it". Fortunately, though after a long and painful delay, the new ruling party in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is taking right steps in this direction, which need to be appreciated in the rest of country. Our students deserve a curriculum that is not 'biased' and 'dangerous' and 'untrue'. They deserve better teachers. The deserve better and peaceful schools. Our classrooms do not need to fill children with forgettable facts and prepare them for standardised tests. But teach them how to be mutually considerate and lead a happy life.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)