United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in its Global Education Monitoring Report 2017-18 has expressed concerns over textbooks in many countries, particularly Pakistan, that glorify “militarism and war” rather than propagating “non-violence, peace and reconciliation”.
In a report released on Monday, the UN body said just 10 per cent of the textbooks across the world include explicit statements on the need for conflict prevention and resolution, reported The Hindu.
The report also blamed Indian textbooks from 2002 that have “bias” against Muslims, saying that Indian history textbooks from 2002 put the blame on Pakistan and contained clear bias against Muslim elements in the region’s history
Going into details of the textbooks being taught in Pakistan, the report said that the books in the South Asian state 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,” said 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.”
Even though the curriculum was revised in 2006, still the post-reform textbooks 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,” the report said.
The UN body also criticised the neighbouring India state for the same reason. It said, “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, reported the India publication.
It may be mentioned here there is an increase in violence against Muslims in India since the rise of Modi-led BJP government, especially the incidents of people killed in the name of disrespect to cows have seen an increase.
Emphasising that textbooks shape young minds powerfully as they trust them as a prime source of knowledge, the report observed, “Textbooks in many countries fail to deal comprehensively with concepts that are crucial for social cohesion and political stability, including peace and non-violence.”
The link of report is below: