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Kakul Ehsan Butt

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.

The future…

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.

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  1. Marconi Pereira July 2, 2012

    This is an extraordinary experience! I’d like to learn more, maybe have some access to this curriculum package documents. Is there any possibility to share this?
    Congrats and thanks for sharing!

    • admin July 2, 2012

      Marconi, it was an incredible experience. I don’t have the access to the curriculum package as it is the property of Citizens Archive of Pakistan. I will have to ask about that.

  2. Amir Q July 6, 2012

    Wel. The problem is this , government governing personalities do not want to improve educational system because they have such a strong conflict of interest . I spent last year with NGO in Lahore which was working for the improvement of education , whereas i feel sorry to say this that Pakistan Government Educational Structure on Primary level should be reformed to produce better citizens …. otherwise i am sorry !!!

  3. Saif July 16, 2012

    “moulded by what the society thinks and what the curriculum teaches them”

    This is true of every society. Even those who like to think of themselves as liberal are bound by their societal prejudices and biases, you only have to look at some of the liberal writers in the West and how liberal they really were post 911. To be honest this blog is a very simplistic look at and indeed a superficial analysis of the deep problems of Pakistan and indeed the world.

    Also not entirely sure what you mean by “pseudo-religiosity”? While the blog talks of critical thinking etc it seems that the writer hasn’t critcally thought through the basic Liberal assumptions and has swallowed them whole without chewing them.

  4. Saif July 17, 2012

    I notices you haven’t posted my comment from yesterday, this is how much you value critical thinking that you don’t post comments that are critical of your posts?

    • admin July 17, 2012


      This blog is not about the deep seated problems of Pakistan or the world, but about school children. My blog was inspired from my experience working with an NGO committed to working with children and to this date is very successful. Perhaps you should re-read the blog again.

      If you feel my analysis based on my experience is superficial and simplistic, then that is entirely your opinion. I am not obliged to counter your argument on this. However, if instead of ridiculing and criticising, you came up with a proactive solution, I would be very much interested in pursuing the discussion further.

      I haven’t posted yesterday because I have a day job as well, so I don’t always check my website every day. Thank you for your patience.

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