A disaster has hit us hard, and more is expected in the coming years with far more intensity than what we witnessed today. It is now time to sober up and get off with our national obsession with defining religious morals through education. We needed a science-orientated education instead, that could have given us the capacity to deal with calamities that we are today facing. Perhaps it is still not too late to wake up; perhaps a sincere resolve to reform our education in light of current realities can save Pakistan from major disasters in future.
There us a serious need for the SNC architects to reconsider some names it has added to the list of heroes or role-models for our children. With recent growing intolerance and incidents of violence, inclusion of persons whose roles have been controversial is the last thing we need our children to be exposed to. A little mindfulness and sensitivity would have been appreciated in undoing the damage already done to our nation’s children and youth.
There should be no doubt that the liberals have for long been pinpointing hate-speech in varying degrees used against religious and ethnic minorities in textbooks. Previous and current governments in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh managed to address and acknowledge unintentional consequences of the certain knowledge concepts and were receptive to the ideas of progressive reforms, albeit strong resistance coming from the right-wing political and religious parties. Such reflection is also expected from the SNC project, however, there remains much to be desired for, especially when Dr. Mariam Chughtai herself is a key figure herself in developing compulsory History Curriculum for middle level students.
The current government, led by cricketer-turned- politician Khan, uses Islamic symbols and slogans to appeal to the utopian ideals of ordinary people in its bid for control of a polarized society. This played a role in the design of the SNC, which aims to appease influential religious figures and the security lobby. Thus, it includes an emphasis on Islamic teachings and the need for a homogenous nation and Urdu as a subject, ideology, and medium in all textbooks.