Promoting Civic Education is one of the most needed, yet most misrepresented topics under consideration by many of its stakeholders in Pakistan’s educational and school communities. An unpacking of its existing concepts needs a renewed understanding in terms of teachers’ own perception of it and their incorporating its values in their pedagogies and lesson planning. The two-way interaction between the teacher and their pupils needs to be understood in light of Pakistan’s citizen-state relationship and how this relationship can translate into a constructive citizen approach towards peace and development. With an aim of fostering positive values of peace, democratic practices, interfaith & intercultural harmony, global citizenship, climate justice, rule of law and adaptability to the requirements of 21st century social skills, Center for Peace and Secular designed and developed a Book on Civic Education for students in their adolescent years. Prepared a teacher resource book on promoting civic education, a song for the youth which lays an emphasis on constructive values for peace and to do away with radical ideologies. Have been conducting Seminars in universities to understand importance of Civic education.
In July, Center for Peace and Secular Studies also carried out a 5-day intensive knowledge and experience sharing workshop with 25 teachers from remote areas of Punjab. The interactions between civic education and curriculum experts and the teachers intersected through various issues felt and experienced in a classroom setting by teaching communities.
Besides distribution of books on civic education among students at school in 15 districts of Punjab, lobbying efforts were successfully made with district education officers who expressed their demand for more such initiatives for both teachers and students. They’ve also requested to include modern social skills that can be at pace with technological advancements. Teachers, school administrators and the students have all expressed their eagerness to learn more about it creatively.
The lessons learnt from this initiative point towards an ever-increasing enthusiasm for this topic, which will also be beneficial for the education departments in all four provinces of Pakistan.
The Centre for Peace and Secular Studies hosted a highly impactful five-day teacher training on civic education at Hotel Grand Palm Lahore from 13th to 18th July 2023. The training brought together a diverse group of primary school teachers from Government, private, and religious schools, representing the Hindu, Christian, and Muslim communities.
The training program was skillfully facilitated by a team of three excellent trainers, who engaged the group of 25 teachers throughout six intense days of learning. These trainers were equipped with the latest knowledge and expertise in transformative teaching methods, enabling them to effectively impart essential civic education concepts.
A noteworthy addition to the training was the day-long diversity tour, providing the participants with an enriching opportunity to visit various religious institutions. During this tour, the teachers explored places of worship, including the Church, Gurdwara, Mandir, and Mosque. The caring caretakers of these religious sites shared enlightening briefings about the historical significance of the buildings and the teachings of their respective religions. This experience played a crucial role in fostering interfaith harmony and promoting mutual respect among the participants.
The training not only focused on educational aspects but also allowed the teachers to experience the local culture and cuisine. Participants had the opportunity to dine out at different famous restaurants, providing a delightful culinary experience and showcasing the vibrant essence of Lahore.
Adding depth to the program, the organizers invited Dr. Amjad Tufail, a distinguished professor of psychology, as a guest speaker. Dr. Tufail shared valuable insights during his session, and to facilitate further learning, one of his books was thoughtfully distributed among the attendees.
On the concluding day of the training, Dr. Shahid Saddiqui, a renowned educationist, was invited to speak. His expertise and wisdom resonated with the participants, and they were privileged to receive his book as well. This remarkable conclusion was followed by a heartfelt certificate distribution ceremony, recognizing the dedication and hard work of the participating teachers.
The training covered a comprehensive array of topics essential to civic education, including Government, state, and politics, rights and responsibilities of citizens, volunteerism, interfaith harmony, global warming, democracy, constitution, mental health, and lesson planning for teachers. The program aimed to empower the teachers with the necessary knowledge and skills to create positive change in their classrooms and communities.
Mr. Taimur Bandey, an esteemed speaker, also contributed to the training with his valuable insights and expertise on a related subject. His session complemented the diverse range of topics covered, enriching the overall learning experience for the teachers.
In conclusion, the five-day teacher training on civic education at Hotel Grand Palm Lahore, organized by the Centre for Peace and Secular Studies, proved to be a resounding success. The engaging sessions, the diverse experiences of the diversity tour, the enlightening guest speakers, and the comprehensive curriculum on civic education contributed to empowering the participating teachers to foster peace, understanding, and inclusive values in their educational endeavors. The impact of this training is bound to reverberate positively in classrooms and communities for years to come.