Today’s post is the first in a six-part series reviewing the historical and current context of education in Pakistan. These posts include:
- Introduction (this post)
- Ancient India – Hindu and Buddhist Influences
- Islamic Influences
- British Influences
- A Separate Nation
- Education in Present-Day Pakistan
Some of the information in this series is drawn from the book, “Going to School in South Asia” edited by Amita Gupta, interwoven with my own understandings of context, values, and beliefs in Pakistan.
Children develop within the contexts of their families, schools, and communities. But families, schools, and communities also evolve within broader socio-political contexts – which are shaped by innumerable historical and current, global and local influences.
We often don’t think about these contexts, and perhaps even take them for granted, when we talk about education, community development, early childhood development, parenting, and other such matters. But the fact is, these contexts completely shape all aspects of society and its systems, including people’s values, the ways in which we construct knowledge – of others and of ourselves, the ways in which communities interact, and specifically the ways in which children are raised, educated, and supported to become contributing citizens. A phenomenon cannot be understood without considering the historical and current contexts within which it is evolving.
It is with this understanding that I am working to more deeply understand education in Pakistan. Indeed, systems of education evolve in response to societal values and beliefs – for example, beliefs about the aim of education, ideas about characteristics that are valued and to be cultivated in children and in adults, beliefs about the roles of teachers and parents, and ideas about how education will be used.
Pakistan’s education system is influenced by local cultural, social, political, and economic factors, as well as the broader South Asian context and the global context. This includes the influences over many centuries of various Eastern and Western philosophies and worldviews. Eastern philosophies tend emphasizes faith, responsibility towards one’s family and community, and the veneration of elders (Gupta, 2007). Western influences have affected Pakistan historically through foreign invasions and rulers, and more recently through globalization and international development. These Western influences have included the separation of religion and morality from secular education, and the shift towards standardized curricula and assessments.
In my next few posts over the coming weeks, I will review some of the historical and current contextual influences on education in Pakistan.
Next: In Ancient India, including Pakistan, Hindu/Vedic and Buddhist philosophies were fundamental in shaping perspectives on education. See my next post for a discussion of these influences on education in Pakistan.
Please share your thoughts and comments below.
Gupta, A. (2007). Introduction: Culture, curriculum, and points of intersection. In A. Gupta (Ed.), Going to School in South Asia (pp. 1-13), Westport, CT: Greenwood.
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