Speakers at a conference on “Critical Conversations for our Democratic Future” have called for inclusion of Constitution as part of regular curriculum and extra-curricular activities at all levels of education to deepen the understanding of the merits of the constitutional democratic process and pluralism.
At the conference in Lahore, vice-chancellors of public sector universities suggested that the curriculum of Pakistan Studies should be revised and topics related to fundamental rights and voter education should be included to strengthen the knowledge-base of the students and enhance critical appreciation of modes of accountability within the constitutional process.
CCEP Executive Director Zafarullah Khan told the audience that in spite of Prime Minister’s directives in October 2014 and two verdicts of High courts, topics related to fundamental rights and constitutionalism could not be included as part of formal curriculum.
Mr Khan said the democracy could only nourish and flourish through deliberations, debates and discussions among citizens. He said continuous conversation on core and critical issues would enrich the nation’s democratic evolution by bringing the Public and the Republic on the same page for common democratic future.
PHEC Chairman Prof. Dr. Nizamuddin said the commission was committed to promote civic education in the higher education institutions in Punjab. Terming 18thconstitutional amendment a landmark step in the constitutional history, he urged the universities’ authorities to encourage debate on constitutional issues through seminars, conferences besides holding short courses, workshops and speech competitions. He announced that courses on civic education would be part of PHEC faculty training programs for the Punjab universities and colleges’ faculty members.
Government College University Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Hassan Amir Shah, University of Education Dr Rauf-e-Azam, Former Fatima Jinnah University Rawalpindi VC Prof. Dr. Najma Najma and National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR) member Chaudhry Mohammed Shafiq also shared their views.
During the session on framework for fundamental rights and role of National Commission for Human Rights, Secretary Government of the Punjab on Human Rights, Ms. Bushra Aman, Hussain Naqi from Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), members HRCP Kishwar Shaheen Awan , Ishaq Masih Naz, andChaudhry Mohammed Shafiq spoke.