Citizenship education promotes social reform in Pakistan

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Malik Javed Jabbar
Although there is near universal agreement on the importance of human rights, many people in both rich and poor countries remain socially excluded. They may have the formal status of citizens without being able to practise effective citizenship. How can education encourage active political participation to help bring about social justice for all ? With the rise of the ‘globalised world’, the concept and identity of the nation-state is increasingly being challenged, forcing people to reconsider traditional views of what it means to be a citizen. Citizenship education has long been taught in schools around the world and in some countries it is being reintroduced. However, many conflicting views exist on the content of such courses and what exactly citizenshipis. Aims to address Pakistan’s history of authoritarianism and political exclusion and to provide the education to which all citizens have a right .Reflects the principle of participatory democracy in the planning and development of its policy is characterised by extensive social, political and civil rights as well as active participation and collective organisation. focuses on universal values but allows some room for difference . Aims to empower citizens to defend their rights and to participate politically encourages critical attitudes towards authorities and allegiance to the people rather than the nation or city.This approach is not an attempt to defend the legitimacy of the existing government but rather to create a new society with full active citizenship for all . Citizenship in Pakistan is not seen as an allegiance to a geographical or ethnic area, but to the community of people, or the society that people live in. A good citizen is someone who defends rights and seeks justice for all rather than working for the glory of the fatherland. Good citizenship, therefore, does not mean unquestioning allegiance and so schools do not need to develop conformity to policies that promote the glory of the nation. People need a sense of justice and to be critical to ensure that the principles of justice are upheld.

(-The writer is a freelance columnist, based in Kashmore/Sindh. )