Pakistan textbooks glorifying war: UNESCO
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The Global Education Monitoring Report 2017-18 of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), released on Monday, expresses concern over school textbooks in many countries glorifying war and military heroes rather than teaching peace, non-violence and reconciliation.
It says that that just 10% of the textbooks across the world include explicit statements on the need for conflict prevention and resolution.
The report offers the example of textbooks in Pakistan that focus on militarism, wars with India and differences between Hindus and Muslims.
“Textbooks that glorify war and military heroes, exclude pluralistic perspectives or undermine other peoples or ethnicities can make teaching peace, non-violence and reconciliation difficult,” says the report. “In Pakistan, textbooks have been criticised for normalising militarism and war and including biases and historical errors and distortions. Prominent Pakistanis other than military heroes and nationalist movement leaders are often excluded.”
It adds, “Pakistani textbooks published after a 2006 curriculum reform still emphasised wars with India and largely ignored peace initiatives. They also perpetuated a narrative of conflict and historic grievances between Muslims and Hindus, rather than discussing the potential for conflict resolution and reconciliation.”
Seeing deterioration in Indian textbooks, too, on this ground, the report says, “For their part, Indian history textbooks from 2002 put the blame on Pakistan and contained clear bias against Muslim elements in the region’s history.”
The time pertains to the replacement of the history textbooks that had been in circulation since the 1970s by the Vajpayee government in the early 2000s.
Emphasising that textbooks shape young minds powerfully as they trust them as a prime source of knowledge, the report says, “However, textbooks in many countries fail to deal comprehensively with concepts that are crucial for social cohesion and political stability, including peace and non-violence.”