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Is Civic Education, the Solution?

Civic education and engagement are integral to raising moral and responsible citizens. A combination of civic lessons in the curriculum and providing opportunities to volunteer with civil society organizations motivates the youth to be responsible citizens. In the absence of such civil channels, no wonder the youth in Pakistan have landed in the arms of extremist outfits. This would change with the revival of civic education and engagement in Pakistan.

Unlike Pakistan, where children at a very young age are deliberately exposed to propaganda in schools, streets, mosques, and homes, children in the West are exposed to civic education and are taught about preserving the public good, such as the environment or obeying traffic regulations. This difference in education also results in a marked difference in the kind of citizenship reflected by the youth as they grow up. The lack of civic engagement and the failure to protect the public good in Pakistan is largely an outcome of lack of civic education. Moreover, schools in Pakistan are known to encourage rote learning and discourage critical thinking. These schools therefore, breeds apathy. For Instance, when one is forced to adopt others’ opinions and is discouraged to engage with the society, one is likely to become apathetic.

Further, decades of violence and intolerance are clear proof of what Pakistan has achieved with teaching religious and nationalist propaganda in schools. It is high time to replace propaganda with civic education for raising better citizens in Pakistan.

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I do agree that civic education might help in abate the violence and terrible circumstances you mention in this article. However, I disagree if it means that the only the lack of civil education has brought Pakistan to where it stands now. There are lots of cultural factors that also go into play in this concotion of hate. Also, the social reproduction that children undergo inside their homes is a key factor that cannot be abated by civic education in school. It might be mitigated with time but such an overhaul of moralistic and ideological values is not likely without a multiple pronged approach.


I absolutely agree with a lot of what you said though I'd like to ask a question - how exactly are you defining civic education here? You mentioned the focus on environment and traffic regulations as examples, but I clearly remember those being a part of the curriculum when I was a child, and also remember seeing a lot of things encouraging protecting the environment when I recently visited a public school. Do you feel the current steps being taken are insufficient, and if so - what can be done better? Are the steps in the West more effective because they're more exhaustive or are there other factors at play?

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Civic education includes the study of the purpose of government, the nature of law, the way private behavior affects the public order, the political system, and the international context of politics. So, it does not only concerns environment and traffic regulations. As far as the current steps are concerned, they are surely inadequate as far as the current position of Pakistan is concerned.

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