teaching Pakistani school children on how to become critical thinkers
The current situation…
Pakistan is riddled with a lot of internal and external problems that are not truthfully reported in the media and often in educational curriculum. Most often, educational curriculum do not cover true historical accounts and are usually edited to support a set curriculum. Young children are like sponges, they easily absorb information. Pakistani children can easily absorb negativity that internal and external conflicts bring. They are moulded by what the society thinks and what the curriculum teaches them.
With rising anti-American sentiments, pseudo-religiosity, sectarian intolerance, young children are being brought up in a destructive environment, which has detrimental effect on them. Prejudice, tunnel vision and hatred are easily consumable so therefore it has become a necessity to teach young children to become critical thinkers and learning to think outside the box.
My experience working in Pakistan
I worked for an NGO in Karachi that ran an education drive. The education drive targeted government schools, where children from low-income families study. We wanted to teach these young children on how to become critical thinkers. We also wanted to teach them to be brave in questioning ideas, especially in classrooms. While teaching the history of Pakistan, we encouraged them to think for themselves as opposed to being taught. We wanted to encourage these children to analyse information at hand and formulate their own understanding.
In this educational initiative, I was responsible for researching facts and figures, using a wide range of resources. My research was compiled into a curriculum package to be taught in classes. We wanted to present real facts and figures that would allow the school children to confront the information and open their minds to a possibility that historical events can have more than one interpretation.
Children learn from their environment on what to think and how to think. The environment limits them to be open to various interpretations or to challenge a thought. That has been the job for the NGO that I worked with. To this date, the NGO is still working with the school children.