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The other side of the coin: education instigating conflict

As a privileged class of people, when describing education we would think of an enriching experience that opens our minds and allows us to think critically, analyze and understand. Our idea of education would be learning to be more tolerant towards each other and more inclusive. It would include resolving conflict and advocating for peace.

However, the unfortunate reality is that another side of the story exists.

This can be seen in education given in Madrassahs where extremist views are often passed on as Islamic teachings, inculcating strong ideas about jihad in the minds of young men. The textbooks contain imagines of guns and ideas about sacrifice for the greater good are taught to children. These brainwashed minds then become the flagbearers of religion, not shying away from attacking anything that does not go in line with their beliefs.

This is not only present within Madrassah education but also prevalent across mainstream education in Pakistan. The curriculum often reflects biased narratives of history and religion which perpetuates certain stereotypes in society. History textbooks are often fabricated presenting a certain state narrative and events like the war of 1971 and the conflict with India are shown in such a way that the other party involved is always the bad guy, always the enemy. Additionally, the Islamic studies that are taught also put forth the teachings of the dominant sect leaving out the rest. The result is hate and division within the community because of different religious and ethnic identities. Thus, religious and ethnic differences are become highlighted in a negative light, leading to resentment, conflict, and eventually violence amongst the masses and especially against the marginalized.

Therefore, it is imperative that the context behind all education is considered on a policy level. It is essential to regulate madrassah and school curriculums and include syllabus that does not cause a rift among the masses; the type of education that is inclusive and focuses on the importance of peace, stability, and growth.

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