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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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