The two-day conference of vice chancellors on civic education, organized by the Center for Peace and Secular Studies in partnership with Punjab Higher Education Commission, concluded in Lahore with education leaders expressed their willingness to work on civic learning to impart knowledge paired with developing civic attitudes and behaviors.
“We all believe that civic education equips people with knowledge, skills and expressions in order to actively participate and to be aware in the society, as citizens who take their responsibilities in a very serious matter,” Punjab Higher Education Commission Chairman Dr Shahid Munir told the audience of vice chancellors of various public and private universities of the province.
Dr Shahid Munir suggests free environment for expression of
The conference explored methods and approaches for assessing impact and effectiveness of civic education programs, including measuring knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of students towards civic engagement. With back-to-back panel discussions, the conference provided a platform for networking, collaboration, and idea exchange among top educational leadership.
“We will encourage researchers, and scholars to present their latest findings and studies, facilitating dissemination of knowledge and evidence-based practices in civic education,” Chairman Dr Shahid Munir announced. He also told the elite educational audience that there should be no exclusion and marginalization on the basis of ideology or race or language or gender etc. “We should forge inclusion rather than exclusion,” he said.
“We must remember that divergence of opinion or expression of thoughts and holding dialogue is important for growth of an institution,” he said, adding that free environment must be provided for expression of ideas and generation of new ideas. Due to communication gap, he pointed out that every group intends to develop its own hegemony which needs to be discouraged.
Saeeda Diep says young people need to be skilled on problem solving methods
Addressing the concluding day ceremony, Center for Peace and Secular Studies Executive Director Saeeda Diep said that the young people should be aware that by acquiring values and human principles, they will be in a position to facilitate the problems that challenge their lives. She suggested that the youngsters need to be skilled on problem solving methods, to show tolerance and understanding of the individuals that think differently, and know how to compromise in order to achieve cooperation.
“We see in our youngsters a clear lack of engagement in civic behaviors, with their reduced participation in community organizations and lackluster participation in election process,” she said, pointing out political and social disorder to an actively polarized society as well as the technological transformation of leisure among many reasons that contribute to this decline in civic engagement. “It is imperative for younger generation to understand social relations and human development,” she said.
Dr Sohail Naqvi suggests new programs in curricula for civic development
Knowledge Streams CEO Dr Syed Sohail Hussain Naqvi, a former executive director of the Higher Education Commission, and former vice chancellor of the Lahore University of Management Sciences, told the audience that many programs can be developed in order to prioritize in the curricula of the civic development process that include responsibility taking, cooperation, tolerance and acceptance, compromise, development of skills of feeling the expression, conflict resolutions, moral values acquisition etc.
Dr Moeed Yusuf, Dr Hassan Amir Shah, Dr Zafar Iqbal Qureshi, Dr Muhammad Nizamuddin joined a panel discussion, moderated by Dr Syeda Mahnaz Hassan, on the topic of importance of social work, internships, and volunteerism in fostering personal growth and community development. Dr Shahid Munir, Prof Dr Tahir Kamran, Prof Rauf-i-Azam and Dr Abid Sherwani joined a panel discussion, moderated by Dr Akmal Soomro, on promoting peace inside campuses through civic education.
Dr Shahid Munir, environmental lawyer Ahmad Rafay Alam, and Director of Sustainable Development Study Center Prof Dr Faiza Sharif joined a panel discussion, moderated by Dr Irfan Ahmad Sheikh, on the topic of significance of civic education in tackling global warming and climate change. The panelists pointed out Pakistan was facing risks of flooding, drought, and melting of glaciers due to climate change. They suggested joint efforts to address climate change issues.
Religious scholars condemn vicious mob attacks on Christians, Churches in Faisalabad
Islamic scholars Dr Raghib Hussain Naeemi, Allama Syed Jawad Naqvi, Qari Sohaib Ahmed Meer Muhammadi, and Dr Ammar Khan Nasir; Roman Catholic archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw, Sikh scholars Dr Kalyan Singh Kalyan and Sardar Ranjeet Singh, and Valmiki scholar Dilshad Gulshan attended a panel discussion, moderated by Dr Tanveer Qasim, on interfaith harmony, promoting harmonious coexistence among followers of diverse faiths and religions through civic education.
Urging federal and provincial governments to ensure protection of all religious minorities, the interfaith and intra-faith panel condemned vicious mob attacks on Christian community, and their religious places in Faisalabad’s Jarranwala. They said that the minorities deserve utmost respect, protection, and freedom to practice their faith without fear besides and full protection to their places of worships.
A violent mob attacked Christian community, vandalizing churches and a cemetery and setting scores of houses on fire in a predominantly Christian area in Faisalabad. After arresting over 100 suspected rioters, the police registered terror cases against more than 600 people for rampage. Punjab government announced to restore all the churches and the homes damaged in the mob violence within a week to their original state and vowed to prevent any such conspiracy in the future.
All the panel members termed the targeting of the community shameful, and act of terror. They said that the mob-led attack was a planned conspiracy to sabotage peace in Pakistan. According to the police, the mob vandalized and set fire to the houses and churches. They that cases have been registered under the charges of terrorism and blasphemy including 13 other provisions.