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Investigating Peace Education and Peace Culture Activities in the Curriculum of Secondary Schools of Pakistan |

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The society of Pakistan is under conflict due to nationalist ideologies, ethnic rivalries, socio-political deprivations, sectarian issues and poverty. This seems to be the cause of many problems and conflicts including absence of laws, low development of state along-with increase in corruption at different levels. Social Constructivism Theory is best suited in this scenario where peace education should be implemented in education and learning processes.

The aim of this research is to determine whether or not the curriculum adopted by our National Education Policy is the root cause of this national disharmony, gender bias, less tolerance, social inflexibility and religious hatred. This is aimed at asking, “What happened to our national curriculum; that it doesn’t promote peace?” and importantly; “Is it the cause of promoting extremism?”.

Pakistan’s Education System - Present Era

Pakistan’s education system has a momentous role in defining how successful, progressive, moderate and democratic we are as a country and nation. Children’s identities are strongly shaped by national curricula. Ministry of Education (Curriculum Wing) has the mandate to give the layout; while each provincial Text Book Boards are then to follow these guidelines and make their own respective textbooks. Analysis shows that curricula and the officially text book shave contained material directly contrary to the goals of a progressive Pakistan.


New school curriculum textbooks are being written and added to national curriculum every year, and it is imperative to study and analyze then in light of national educational identity. It is also essential to compare and see, if the new curriculum is changed from previous curriculum which contained some prejudiced and biased distorted historical and gender biases, and political themes. None of the earlier intellectual discourses seemed to have any affect or impact on government’s educational policies, practices adopted by public or private schools.

Pakistan has lost a series of generations since 80s, to incorrect and biased education, but still it is mesmerizing that none of the public, governmental or private sector seem to be pushed to change that. It is not on political or bureaucratic agenda of the nation. It is felt that this ‘national treason’ in corrupting minds of our generations, needs to be made a house hold talk and debate to build awareness and pressure for policy change. Following Literature was studied:

Books on Pakistan’s Educational Curriculum

  1. “Rewriting the history of Pakistan” point out the state policies and subsequent educational instructions and directive that actually brought the change in history accounts and resulting historical distortions that were taught to students in Pakistan’s primary and secondary school textbooks. This proved detrimental in ‘Islamization of Pakistani education’.

In Pakistan, education has been repeatedly used as a political tool especially after 1971 as face saving for political debacle of East Pakistan. General Zia’s regime had legitimacy issues, which were masked in popular Islamization of the whole society for which obviously so called educational (mis) reforms were extensively (mis) used. Religious factions as well as political parties were over jubilant and widely participated in this masquerade. This resulted in selective alteration of history, factually incorrect accounts of events, catering for one predominantly specific sect of Islam while creating hate material for all others including minorities, glorification of war (jihad) boasting own supernatural might and divine military support, gender bias, etc. Subsequent government also equally participated in this crime by either their laid back approach or else, willingly perpetuated them.

ii) “Murder of History” analyzing 66 school textbooks, identifies historical errors and inaccuracies, and corrects them also; that has been included in curriculum and books by the state.

iii)“Idea of Pakistan” has two volumes and has a detailed account of life of a Muslim in India and subsequently Pakistan, historic narration of events which developed into the idea of forming a new separate state for Muslims – Pakistan. It also goes on to say how political elite of Pakistan played and manipulated the masses for their own interests and how infrastructure and bureaucracy hindered or didn’t take interest in development of state institutions on the right path.

iv)“Education, critical perspectives” identified 'glorification of the military', militancy, and heroism in text and curriculum. She did comparative analysis of books 1950 -1980s era.

v)“Reinventing Women” Gender bias in Urdu School Textbooks in Punjab, Class I – V, Aurat Publications, 1989.

vi) “Education in Pakistan” explores The key issues, problems and the new challenges. The curriculum problems have two causes: one, curriculum documents held and issued by Curriculum Wing of the Federal Ministry of Education. Second, the instructions to textbook authors by provincial Text Book Boards which need immediate reforms.

vii)“Conflict and Violence in the Educational Process” is an excellent insight into emergence of conflict and its transformation into a violent sphere, due to educational influence. It details how enemies are perceived and shadow threats are created and fought in social communities due to (lack) of education.

  1. “Pakistan Curriculum Jungle” is an exhaustive study done by published in highlights distortions of history as the main concern on Pakistan’s curriculum, after consultation with most prominent educationists of that time.

ix)GMR in respect to education; is an annually report produced since 2002 till 2016. It is done via an autonomous body located at UNESCO headquarters. It supervises and complies evident progress towards the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), education being one of them, which were put in a separate plan and agreed by all the world countries and organizations in 2010. It is worth mentioning that in 2015 in an exhibition at UNESCO it was demonstrated that rapid achievements in education can help to achieve all other MDGs These are as follows:#

  1. Achieve Universal primary education, for boys and girls by 2015 all by the target date of 2015.
  1. Reducing poverty to half.


Every individual desires to have peace in his life and wishes to live in a specific environment. Just like the individuals, families, societies, communities and, nations dream to live in a peaceful atmosphere, as peace is a bitter pill for their existence. So, they strive for peace following their distinct and best possible approach. But there is always a contrast to every phenomenon; for peace, there lies conflict. Like Peace, conflict is also an undeniable phenomenon of human life. As it is contrary to peace, so we should get rid of the prevailing conflicts of society. Conflict resolution is very essential in order to bring peace in a troubled society.

There are various tools for the eradication of conflicts in the society. Education is one of the most effective tools for turning the social conflicts into enduring peace. Every phenomenon has its root basis from which it stems out and with the passage of time it keeps on nourishing itself and consequently become a flourish tree whose elimination is nearly impossible. The causes from which the conflict originates may include nature of human , rivalry and dispute for the competition of resources and authority among individuals and groups. It usually stems from the nature of the social system , institutional organization and the inevitable tensions and struggles among different classes of the society. Besides these, the root causes of social conflicts include values, beliefs, emotions, style of communication and human’s personal actions and responses, which plays a great role in agitating the conflicts.

Education and Peace Building

United Nations has established peace-building offices due to focus on role of education in conflict transformation.* Commission for building peace (PBC)

  • The Peace building Support Office (PBSO) and
  • The Peace building Fund (PBF) in 2006.

These structures have emerged because of concerns to prevent relapses in the after- math of conflict. They provide support to countries in the immediate post-conflict period mainly through funding for political, governance, security and macroeconomic reforms. However, observers recommend that focusing on social policies such as education and healthcare, as opposed to macroeconomic reforms, is especially important for preserving peace in countries that have emerged from civil conflict. In 2014, 8.44 billion dollars were spent by UN funds of peace building, on approximately 20 countries for completion of nearly 200 projects; but not on education which received only 15 percent of these funds. They didn’t invest on making structural changes and reforms in educational institutions, such as education which had received less than 15 percent of its funds.

It is more so in last decade that it has been felt that education can and does play a very significant role in building peace and transformation of any conflict. It is important to note that peace education doesn’t mean that it is only meant for children and youth. Peace education is meant for all tiers of society.

A study made following observations: * That “of the 37 full peace agreements signed between 1989 and 2005 that are publicly available, 11 make no mention of education at all”.

  • Even in those that do include “education, there is great variation in the way it is perceived and addressed in terms of security, protection, economic development or socio-political issues.”
  • “This is a reminder that peace agreements may bring an end to hostilities”, but more often are only transitional events that “mark the ‘transformation’ of conflicts rather than their ‘resolution’.”

The dissimilarity noted by Galtung i.e. negative vs positive peace is actually of core relevance. It enumerates multiple scenarios for education’s adding impact to initiatives for making peace.

Firstly, education i.e. giving teaching / schooling facilities. Initiatives for quality, access etc. help in post conflict situations.

Secondly, focus on education sector reform, becoming imperative in post-conflict scenarios providing basis to initiate work in streamlined manner for peace to flourish.

Thirdly, education to facilitate and ensure conflict transformation with attitude and behavioral changes, coming from structural changes in the conflicting society.

Education plays a pivotal role in shaping the environment and minds to receive the changes needed to finish the conflict and start a progressive peace building environment in the society.

Peace building theory emphasizes that education goes beyond the stereo type understanding of formal school education, in that it goes into the realm of societal changes, gender biases and flexibility and critical thinking paradigms.


Peace Education is an attempt to responding problems of conflict and violence on scales ranging from the global and national to the local and personal..... It is accepted as an attempt for solution of conflicts and violence, a way for safe and secure future (R.D. Laing 1978).

Peace education advocates a teaching and learning system which generates mental and physical attitudes which are flexible and tolerant towards others, understanding and respecting the point of views of others.


Galtun (2007) introduced ‘Three Approaches to Peace’ namely; peacekeeping, peace-making and peace-building. Lederach (1997) was one prominent supporter of peace, presented a theory that peace is dynamic which transforms and that it is a process which has social elements.

Aiken (2013) synthesized the work of other scholars but adds significant value through a social learning model which connects transitional justice and reconciliation in divided societies (Beirne & Knox, 2014). This connection, he argues, is heavily mediated by social learning: ‘transitional justice strategies will be successful in promoting reconciliation to the extent that they are able to facilitate changes in the antagonistic identities and hostile systems of relations between former enemies developed during past violence’ (Aiken, 2013:50).

He expands on several components of the social learning model 10 Colin Knox & Seamus Mccrory 02 Knox article. Qxp_Admin 66-3 02/08/2018 11:34, page 10 (trans-formative dialogue, acknowledging the injustice to victims of past violence, truth recovery, and tackling structural and material inequalities). In particular, however, he emphasized the role of inter-group contact as follows: Positive inter-group contact is the essential mechanism of social learning and reconciliation. Contact must be of non-adversarial quality; groups afforded equal status; over a long period of time; and in pursuit of cooperative or superordinate goals. In addition, context should have supportive institutional structures, the agreement of authorities and broader normative climate of improved inter-group relations” (Aiken, 2013:50).

Namande (2008), argues that issues such as egoistic patterns, beliefs bases on races, discrimination, disagreement, desire for meaningful things, recognition efforts and fear are the causes of conflicts.

Brahnam, termed conflict as the natural phenomenon of human life, and it’s a regular event and happens in every way of life. Social conflict is an unavoidable element of human interaction which can incorporate disunity, fight, tussle, struggle, cold war or even combat between people and groups. It can occur in various forms, such as interpersonal problems, including misunderstandings, fall-out and conflict on some-points and vacuum in the exchange of ideas between individuals to the issues of obligations at work, power, dominance and authority.

According to Dzurgbe (2006) , social conflict can be defined as differences or disagreements between individuals, inter or infra-communal variance and religious disputes over certain stances.

Deutsch & Coleman (2000) claims that there is always the chance of occurrence of conflict among all social settings and human relationships. It is due to the fact of variation of thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions between every individual. Everyone is confident in his/her way of thinking and when different people interact, there lies a chance of conflict because they might not accept others’ points of view. As far as the nature of the conflict is concerned, we can’t tag it as a negative phenomenon, it is actually the way conflict is being dealt with.

According to Dubrin (2005), when disagreements or dissents over topics or some social issues in a social setting, conflict arises. It also occurs when emotional aggression causes friction between people or groups.

Wilmot and Hocker (2011), concluded that conflict is the resistance between the inter-reliant individuals over irreconcilable differences felt in norms, values, beliefs, dogmas and aims. The conflict arises due to the disagreement over self-esteem, respect, integrity, socioeconomic thoughts, alliances and authorities.

The culture of peace took significance by UNESCO, that’s why the Resolution (53/125) of 1998 proclaimed 2001-2011, as the decade of peace without any conflict for the children of the world. The Resolution (53/243) on the declaration and plan of action for a culture of peace was also passed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999.

Scholars and researchers like Adeoluma (2006), Aguba (2000), Kester (2010) and Ezeoba (2012) considered school as the basic place for education of peace and serves as the best institute to cultivate a culture of peace which teaches people about the importance of peaceful society and it guides them to adopt qualities by which they can contribute as much as they can for nurturing a peaceful environment.


Social Constructivism is the most apt rationale which may help to develop unity of views. It helps in developing an environment along with structurally improvements for moving forward as a unified nation in a cohesive manner. Social constructivism is grounded on precise conventions about reality, knowledge, and learning. To understand and apply models of instruction that are based on standpoints of social constructivists, it is important to know the grounds to them.

Reality: Social constructivists accept as true that there is no reality; prior to its community discovery. Thus reality is ‘human action constructed’ in that population of a community make the reality of their surroundings.

Knowledge: Similarly, knowledge is also a community production in which they invent meanings of knowledge through personal interactions, dealings, and the surrounding atmosphere of their life. It is made by social and cultural fabrics.

Learning: Learning is a societal and social development and is not individual based. Fruitful learning happens when persons interact with each other in shared social and societal activities.


As is evident even from the above discourse, that ‘Social constructivism’ is specifically useful theory for its educational applications models in regards to larger scale social interactive basis esp. where conflicting communal attitudes exist. It highlights following as essential:* Need for partnership between conflicting factions of community (learners and practitioners) in the society. Any society’s whole knowledge is located in relations between its members.

  • It is effected by social hierarchy, politics and economy.
  • Approaches to achieve this must have:
  1. Mutual teaching,
  2. Learning from peers,
  3. Reasoning training,

Any instruction method which gathers ‘others’ for mutual learning. Over-all Viewpoints of Social Constructivism on Learning. It is a must that two contexts are viewed together i.e. in which learning is happening and social baggage that those been taught bring to these learning sessions. There are four perspectives to be considered if we want to effectively study learning from a that social constructivism framework, as follows:

Perspective I Reasoning (Cognitive Tools) Approach: This Cognitive tools perspective emphasizes on learning of reasoning skills and how to do it. Students engage in conflicting views reasoning and resultantly create a group accepted meaning / knowledge.

Perspective II Idea-based Social Interactions Approach in the Realm of Constructivism. Importance of various specific ideas or subjects to be taught is assigned. This becomes the basis of expanding the vision of learner into previous obscure realms.

Perspective III Practical or Realistic approach. Knowledge and how to achieve it should happen, realistically or need based. Knowledge, learned reality, and understanding of the others’ perspective may happen from view learner and also from the collective view of the entire communal class involved in such a learning

Perspective IV Arguable or Situation Based Approach. Focuses on the inter dependable nature that exists between people and environment. Humans make communities and they in turn constitute environment that also include social relationships. So environment makes the person and vice versa. Human interactions is interactions in an environment. When anyone of them changes the whole process of learning and meaning changes. Therefore, learning is meaningless in isolation from environment.


The people of Pakistan have been witnessing unpleasant incidents of violence and conflict since its inception. Ironically, youth has been used to create and spread conflict, violence, intolerance in the society without being aware of its deadly consequences.


  1. Is peace education a part of the formal school curriculum?
  2. Are peace culture activities practiced in school


The study was descriptive in nature as it was concerned with the research under investigation. A detailed questionnaire was developed to investigate the basic inculcation of peace education and related activities in the Govt. Secondary Schools of Lahore. The questionnaire consisted of two sections, the first part was on demographic data while the second part was on culture and peace education. The data collected was properly coded and analyzed. The data was collected from almost 200 teachers of Government schools. The questionnaire was given to them one by one and hence, the answers were tabulated on SPSS (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences).


The following findings have been obtained from the collected data.

Research Question 1

  1. Is peace education a part of the school curriculum formally?


S/N Questions \stackrel{\textasciimacron }{X} Rank Answers
1. Peace education is taught as a topic/chapter in different subjects. 3.53 1st Yes
2. Respect for difference in thoughts and dignity is taught 2.95 2nd Yes
3. Acceptance and respect for other religions are taught in schools. 2.75 3rd Yes
4. The curriculum inculcates moral and value education in students. 2.72 4th Yes
5. Love, peace and harmony is practiced in schools. 2.65 5th Yes
6. International peace day is observed and celebrated. 2.56 6th Yes
7. Schools library provides wide range of books on peace and harmony. 2.56 6th Yes
8. Speeches, debates and creative writing competitions related to peace education are organized in schools. 2.53 8th Yes
9. Group work and collaborative projects are used. 2.53 8th Yes
10. Value education like compassion and equality are inculcated to students through role plays. 2.32 10th No
11. Students are encouraged to work in groups to have a better learning. 2.31 11th No
12. Peace education is taught as a subject 1.03 12th No

The results show that 9 out of 12 questions regarding peace education as part of school curriculum have a range between 2.53 and 3.53 which is acceptable whereas, 3 answers are less than 2.50 which clearly shows that although the concept of peace education might be taught but it is not practiced in schools and hence, is not part of school curriculum.

Research Question 2

  1. Are peace culture activities practiced in school life?
S/N Questions \stackrel{\textasciimacron }{X} Rank Answers
1. Students are given opportunities to act plays that show the negative impact of conflict. 3.46 1st Yes
2. Any kind of conflict between staff or students is not at all encouraged 3.34 2nd Yes
3. Inter-religion friendship is encouraged. 2.65 3rd Yes
4. Sports activities are organized in such a way which promotes peace and team building spirit. 2.54 4th Yes
5. Guests/Motivational speakers are invited as part of extra-curricular activities to talk about peace issues. 2.46 5th No
6. Extra-curricular activities related to peace, harmony and value education are organized 2.45 6th No
7. Speeches, debates and creative writing competitions related to peace education are organized in schools. 2.43 7th No
8. Inter-city field trips are organized to enable students experience lifestyles and traditions of others. 1.93 8th No
9. Schools organize Open day where various activities are going on. 1.87 9th No
10. School has some special clubs for promoting peace and value education 1.82 10th No
11. All students are treated equally no matter what cast they belong to. 1.63 11th No
12. The school is part of any peace education program 1.62 12th No

From Table 2, results show that 7 questions out of 12 have ‘no’ as a response which means that peace culture-related activities are missing in the school curriculum and there is a dire need of such activities and messages being inculcated in the students.


Results from research question 1 suggest that although peace education is part of the school curriculum but only at the surface level. The findings are in line with the preposition of Adesina and Odejobi (2011) who suggested that bits of peace education can be seen in school subjects such as Islamiyat and social studies. Also, the findings support an earlier study by Aladejana (2007) who suggested that few topics such as co-operation, group work, sharing, civic responsibility, clean environment were there in the curriculum of different subjects.

Also apparent from this finding is the fact that no pedagogical strategy is used to teach peace education, techniques like “role play” implies significant role in learning. Also, an important finding from this research is that peace education is not being taught as a subject in the primary school. Only few chapters or stories are added in the curriculum

The results from research question 2 implies that there is a dire need of introducing peace culture activities in the school life. These findings support Wisdom ad Imo (2010) who suggested that the curriculum content carries inadequate integration of co-curricular activities related to peace education programs.


A review of curriculum shows that the following key areas should be focused on for any post conflict success in field of education:* Education planning.

  • Managing the Sustainability of reform process in local culture
  • Training of teachers.
  • Civil servants training.
  • Coping with the language diversity.
  • Partnership of government and private sectors.
  • Strategic planning for different educational sections
  • Skill based training
  • Upgrading of books and curriculum
  • A Rectified educational system

Miscellaneous Research Contributions:* Root causes and analysis of violence in any society.

  • Best practiced lessons in any conflict zone.
  • Studies on areas related to political literacy, democracy, peace education and human rights.
  • Comparative statistics on the ratios of military to education spending
  • Strategies which contributed to peace during conflict
  • Adaptability of educational institutes during conflict times.
  • Peace education, tolerance, ethics and morals should be added in the curriculum.
  • It should be integrated in all subjects.
  • Peace education should be taught as a subject also.
  • Integrated social work activities should be introduced in the curriculum.


Teacher training plays a vital role in the social, cognitive and educational development of students. Every student takes teacher as a role model, hence, proper training of teacher is of utmost importance.* In service training (INSET) should be made compulsory at-least once a year.

  • There should be emphasis on interactive teaching and learning.
  • Teaching should be based on ethical learning which inculcates tolerance and respect for others.
  • Need based learning should be introduced to teachers.
  • Psychological and physiological development of students should be kept in mind.


It is obvious from the findings that inculcation of features of peace education should be an integral part of any school’s curriculum. Also, activities that promote peace, harmony, value education lacks in the curriculum of primary schools of Pakistan. On the basis of this, following recommendation can be made:

  1. Amendments should be made in the curriculum where peace education should be introduced as a core subject.
  2. Peace education needs to be integrated with the existing syllabus as a discipline in its own right. At present, the national curriculum—to which government schools are bound—merely touches on aspects of peace education.
  3. In order to instill peace values in learners, it is important to introduce extra-curricular activities fostering on peace education.
  4. Pedagogical training should be introduced for the teachers as help to inculcate culture of peace education in students through strategies like role play and inquiry.
  5. New and improved curriculum should be made part of both public schools and madrassas.
  6. The aim of all teacher training and textbooks should be attaining social, cultural and gender equality.
  7. Improving educational quality through adequate teacher training and eliminating religious diversity.
  8. Clauses pertaining to religious freedom affirmed to non-Muslim minorities that are present in Constitution of Pakistan (1973)’s part IX Islamic provisions, art. 227(3); should be included in textbooks.


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