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Education System and Intolerance

Dalai Lama in his speech on “Relevance of Universal Ethics for the
Modern Age” at Tumkur University in Tumakuru held current Education System
responsible for growing intolerance in students. He said that the existing
education system given by the British is inadequate to address the present
religious intolerance. An education system which teaches respect towards other
religions and faiths, and promotes brotherhood among the people of different
faiths can bring peace in society.

With growing cases of unrest in school, it becomes necessary that we
should discuss this issue and find a solution for it. Nazma Erum, in her book
“Mothering a Muslim”, writes about intolerance being faced by kids in Delhi.
She continues to write that a mother in Bengaluru banned her young son from
playing video games after she overheard his friend congratulating him with an
“Ayan, you are a pro at bombing your way out!” “But everyone is playing them,
Amma,” he complained. “You are not everyone; I don’t want to hear your name and
bomb and guns in the same sentence again,” she said sternly, masking her fear.

If such is the case, then education should be transformed in such a way
that these thoughts don’t get the soil to breed on. We’ll now discuss five
essential means by which tolerance can be taught to kids.

  1. Diversity Audits: Make a
    note of cultures and identities represented in your classroom materials,
    books, pictures and classroom decor. You could even invite a friend to
    come by and make a few observations about what they see. You see a great
    representation of different ethnicities in your picture books, for
    example, but don’t have any stories featuring various protagonists who

  2. Tolerant Curriculum: “I
    recommend exposure to diverse texts: enabling texts, minority protagonists
    and bilingual books,” says Charesha Barrett of 
    CHARP Education Consulting. Create assignments and
    tasks which help them explore the goodness in each other’s culture. There
    are free resources and webinars available online for Teachers to gain
    capacity in this area. Similar training can be given to students.

  3. Celebrate Festivities:
    Diwali, Id, Christmas and Independence Day are great occasions to set your
    students free. Organise carnivals, events and competitions on such days
    and ensure that most students participate in it. This will help them
    interact with each other and celebrate each other’s culture. After
    celebrating diversity is all that we care.

  4. Listen to All: At times,
    it’s not the students but parents who are confused and afraid. Many biases
    begin in assumption. If there are disputed thoughts at home then no matter
    how hard you may try but results are always going to counterpart. It
    becomes necessary to listen and pay attention to such opinions from
    parents and students. Hearing can solve most of the problem. If you feel
    that someone is in distress of adapting to different culture, then listen
    to his problems and counsel him.

  5. Model Tolerance: At times we
    hear teachers commenting, “Your name is too tough to pronounce”, “Why do
    people like you are so loud”, “This is what your culture teaches you”. And
    then he laughs out or passes a comment on it, and we can see the whole
    class mocking at the child. But we forget to acknowledge that these comments
    are racist. If the teacher continues to show intolerance and can’t respect
    someone’s name and culture, then how can you expect students to be
    intolerant, especially when we know that young minds learn most from their
    surroundings. So learn to model intolerance yourself.

We live in a world with 4200 religions. It will become a pathetic place
if there is unrest even in two communities. It’s better to teach kids from
grass root level that diversity is the key. When there are headlines of
criminal cases and the situation of unrest in society, and you see intolerance
and discrimination growing, talk about it. These are not taboo topics. Break
the stereotypes and promote open discussions over such grieve topics.

If you have questions in your mind regarding this subject, then feel
free to connect with Unised International. We have pledged to promote education
for all. Let’s join hands and Build a Tolerant Future.

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