An independent think-tank

Academic and Intellectual Dialogue on Social Harmony, Tolerance and Education

Book Cover: Academic and Intellectual Dialogue on Social Harmony, Tolerance and Education
Part of the Reports series:

Teachers need to be empathetic to be able to sow seeds of tolerance in the classrooms. Only then can they be open to differing views but also create an environment in which students learn to appreciate the diversity and to exchanges with each other. Teachers are part of the same society, which they are obliged to set in order; sensitizing them on tolerance and pluralism should include their exposure to diverse views.

With this need, Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) organized as series of dialogues with teachers aimed promoting peace, diversity and peaceful coexistence. The engagement was intentionally kept as dialogue, so as to learn from each other. Participants include faculty members of public sector, higher secondary schools and colleges across Pakistan.

It is unfortunate that in Pakistan, the education, instead of ending social cleavages, widen them further. There are different systems of education, each catering to unique segment of the society. Yet, what is positive is that many students have found their lives transformed, with time, if not through formal education but through their own introspection. A person willing to look inside is a person willing to ask question. It is a double jeopardy that the secluded education system that caters to each segment, do not allow for questioning. Those who do, like the private sector, produce students who excel in professional and academic lives.

A teacher can sow the seeds of inquiry. No student can learn all the facts and figures, but every student should be told how to approach any subject and any person. Students should be taught, by example, what it means to conduct dialogues – learning from each other, rather than exciting over proving others wrong. With these values, students can emerge as useful citizens.

The tolerance of supporting narratives of peace and harmony in Pakistan’s mainstream educational discourse as well as the realization that discriminatory behavior towards students belonging to religious minorities in classrooms needs to be addressed. Students from different faiths should be approached with sensitivity to promote equality by striving to prevent classroom discrimination.

Gradually these ideas are taking root due to the space being given to exchange ideas in a congenial and professional manner through this initiative by PIPS because this initiative exclusively focuses on influencing educational discourse and training teachers in support of inclusivity, tolerance and harmonious environment for education.

Publisher: Pak Institute For Peace Studies (PIPS)