PESHAWAR -- The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government has recently ordered the province's public schools to include subjects on ethics and morality in order to create a positive change in society.
KP Chief Secretary Mohammad Azam Khan in late November directed authorities at the Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) Department to begin including various ethics-related topics in the syllabi of primary schools.
On Wednesday (January 3), Azam went one step further, directing the department to immediately begin ethics lectures and speeches throughout all of the schools in the province.
Azam also instructed the heads of all public schools to begin regular speeches and lessons on ethical topics during students' morning assemblies.
The goal is to motivate the new generation to adopt good behaviour and character in life and create a healthy atmosphere in society, according to officials.
The chief secretary has identified 35 ethical topics to be covered in the course material including health care, the environment, friendship, sympathy, frugality, social work, and respect for women and elders, among other matters, ESE Special Secretary Khalid Khan told Pakistan Forward.
"Our department has issued directives to all concerned offices to make a proper strategy and arrangements for implementing the directives," he said. "We are starting the new syllabus from next academic year."
Specialists from the educational curriculum wing are involved in designing an appropriate syllabus and "will identify topics suitable for students of various grades. It will then be included in their textbooks," he said.
The objective is to develop positive behaviour and ethical changes in the younger generation, Khan said.
The ESE Department also has plans to improve the capacity of teachers so that schools in the province will implement the reforms properly, he said.
Nazar Ali, a primary school teacher in Bara Gate, Peshawar, said he appreciated the inclusion of ethics in the curriculum.
Small decisions such as these can change the future of a generation, he told Pakistan Forward.
"It is our duty to teach basic ethics to the students, but once small things like keeping homes and streets clean, helping the poor and washing your hands before eating become part of the curriculum, then the impact will be greater," he said.
"It's the only way towards a socially responsible society," he added.
The push by the provincial government is a good initiative that will help children develop their personalities, Binash Shuja, an educator and social activist from Peshawar, told Pakistan Forward.
"Ethics and morality are essential for a healthy society -- if we educate and familiarise our children with these values from the very beginning, then we can produce good and responsible citizens for our society," Shuja said.
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