Addressing Social Justice and Cultural Identity in Pakistani Education: A Qualitative Content Analysis of Curriculum Policy

  • Yaar MuhammadEmail author
  • Peter Brett
Part of the Multilingual Education book series (MULT, volume 32)


Pakistan was set up as a relatively egalitarian and democratic state. However, the trend has been for successive governments to create a more theocratic/Islamic, less inclusive, and less democratic state especially during the Zia regime. This led to the dominance of a relatively narrow and exclusionary conception of Pakistani national identity—based on the aspirations of the dominant Sunni Punjabi ethnic group. This increased the difficulties of the remaining ethnic and religious groups, whose cultural diversity was less clearly recognized either politically, socially, or educationally—and indeed there was a distinct prejudice practised against them. In the early twenty-first century, the Musharraf regime tried to make changes to this approach through policies based on enlightened moderation—a variant of liberal democracy. Against this background, this chapter presents the findings from a qualitative content analysis of some of the key education policy and secondary school curriculum documents produced during the Musharraf regime. The aim of this analysis was to understand how these policy documents addressed social justice and cultural diversity issues in Pakistan.


  1. Ahmad, S. J. (2003). Teaching human rights. In A. H. Nayyar & A. Salim (Eds.), The subtle subversion: The state of curricula and textbooks in Pakistan Urdu, English, Social Studies and Civics (pp. 107–118). Islamabad: Sustainable Development Policy Institute.Google Scholar
  2. Ahmad, I. (2004). Islam, democracy and citizenship education: An examination of the social studies curriculum in Pakistan. Current Issues in Comparative Education, 7(1), 39–49.Google Scholar
  3. Ali, N. (2008). Outrageous state, sectarianized citizens: Deconstructing the ‘textbook controversy’ in the Northern Areas, Pakistan. South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal, 2, 2–19.Google Scholar
  4. Ali, N. (2010). Sectarian imaginaries: The micropolitics of sectarianism and state-making in northern Pakistan. Current Sociology, 58(5), 738–754.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ball, S. J. (2006). Education policy and social class: The selected works of Stephen J. Ball. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Behuria, A., & Shehzad, M. (2013). Partition of history in textbooks in Pakistan: Implications of selective memory and forgetting. Strategic Analysis, 37(3), 353–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bergen, P. (2012). Talibanistan: Negotiating the borders between terror. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Beyer, P. (2007). Religion, globalization and culture. Leiden: BRILL.Google Scholar
  9. Bowe, R., Ball, S. J., & Gold, A. (1992). Reforming education & changing schools: Case studies in policy sociology. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Buzdar, A., Abbasi, I., Sargana, T., & Ahmed, K. (2016). Globalization of cultural patterns and its impacts on political development in Pakistan during 21st century. Pakistan Journal of Social Sciences, 36(2), 1143–1152.Google Scholar
  11. Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing grounded theory: A practical guide through qualitative analysis. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  12. Cochran-Smith, M. (2010). Toward a theory of teacher education for social justice. In Second international handbook of educational change (pp. 445–467). Heidelberg: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Crawford, K. (2000). Researching the ideological and political role of the history textbook-issues and methods. International Journal of Historical Learning, Teaching and Research, 1(1), 81–91.Google Scholar
  14. Dean, B. (2005). Citizenship education in Pakistani schools: Problems and possibilities. International Journal of Citizenship and Teacher Education, 1(2), 35–55.Google Scholar
  15. Government of Pakistan. (1973). The Constitution of Pakistan 1973.
  16. Government of Pakistan. (2006). National curriculum for Pakistan studies grades IX–X. Islamabad: Ministry of Education.Google Scholar
  17. Government of Pakistan. (2007). A white paper revised document to debate & finalize the national education policy. Islamabad: Ministry of Education.Google Scholar
  18. Government of Pakistan. (2009a). National professional standards for teachers in Pakistan (Vol. 2012). Islamabad: Ministry of Education.Google Scholar
  19. Government of Pakistan. (2009b). National education policy. Islamabad: Ministry of Education.Google Scholar
  20. Government of Pakistan. (2009c). National professional standards for teachers in Pakistan. Islamabad: Policy and Planning Wing, Ministry of Education.Google Scholar
  21. Government of Punjab. (2015). Inclusion of question about extremism, terrorism, sectarianism, resilience, tolerance, peaceful co-existence, interfaith harmony in examinations.
  22. Graneheim, U. H., & Lundman, B. (2004). Qualitative content analysis in nursing research: Concepts, procedures and measures to achieve trustworthiness. Nurse Education Today, 24(2), 105–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Grbich, C. (2012). Qualitative data analysis: An introduction. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  24. Jamil, B. R. (2009). Curriculum reforms in Pakistan–a glass half full or half empty? School Curriculum Policies and Practices in South Asian Countries, NCERT, Delhi.Google Scholar
  25. Lall, M. (2008). Educate to hate: The use of education in the creation of antagonistic national identities in India and Pakistan. Compare, 38(1), 103–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lall, M. (2009). Education dilemmas in Pakistan: The current curriculum reform. In M. Lall & E. Vickers (Eds.), Education as a political tool in Asia (pp. 179–197). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. Mills, C., & Gale, T. (2001). Recognitive justice: Renewed commitment to socially just schooling. In B. A. Knight & L. Rowan (Eds.), Researching in contemporary educational environments (pp. 64–83). Flaxton: Post Pressed.Google Scholar
  28. Muhammad, Y. (2015). Pakistani national identity, cultural diversity and global perspective: A policy trajectory study of the national curriculum for secondary school Pakistan Studies in Punjab. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Tasmania, Tasmania.Google Scholar
  29. Nayyar, A. H. (2003). Insensitivity of Pakistani school education to religious diversity of the nation. In A. H. Nayyar & A. Salim (Eds.), The subtle subversion: The state of curricula and textbooks in Pakistan Urdu, English, Social Studies and Civics (pp. 9–62). Islamabad: Sustainable Development Policy Institute.Google Scholar
  30. Nayyar, A. H., & Salim, A. (2003). The subtle subversion: The state of curricula and textbooks in Pakistan Urdu, English, Social Studies and Civics. Islamabad: Sustainable Development Policy Institute.Google Scholar
  31. North, C. E. (2006). More than words? Delving into the substantive meaning (s) of “social justice” in education. Review of Educational Research, 76(4), 507–535.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. O’Donnell, J., Pruyn, M., & Chávez, R. C. (2004). Social justice in these times. Greenwich: Information Age Publishing.Google Scholar
  33. Oxfam. (2006). Education for global citizenship: A guide for schools.
  34. Pasha, A. (2014). Global citizenship (GC) in Pakistan: A brief.
  35. Rizvi, F., & Lingard, B. (2010). Globalizing education policy. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  36. Saigol, R. (2005). Enemies within and enemies without: The besieged self in Pakistani textbooks. Futures, 37(9), 1005–1035.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Saldaña, J. (2009). The coding manual for qualitative researchers (1st ed.). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  38. Schreier, M. (2014). Qualitative content analysis. In U. Flick (Ed.), The Sage handbook of qualitative data analysis (pp. 170–183). London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Shaikh, F. (2008). From Islamisation to Shariatisation: Cultural transnationalism in Pakistan. Third World Quarterly, 29(3), 593–609.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Shirazi, Z. S., Haider, M., Jahangiri, H., & Hakim, A. (2014). Militant siege of Peshawar school ends, 141 killed.
  41. Stöber, G. (2007). Religious identities provoked: The Gilgit textbook controversy’ and its conflictual context. Internationale Schulbuchforschung, 29(4), 389.Google Scholar
  42. Trowler, P. (2003). Education policy. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. United Nations. (2014). World day of social justice.
  44. Zaidi, S. M. A. (2011). Polarisation of social studies textbooks in Pakistan. The Curriculum Journal, 22(1), 43–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Management & TechnologyLahorePakistan
  2. 2.University of TasmaniaBurnieAustralia

Personalised recommendations