A recently conducted report on links between education and inequality shows alarming levels of religion-based discrimination in educational institutions across the country

The report calls for a radical shift and reforms in the relevant laws, teacher training, and behavioural transformation of society.

The report was conducted by The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and The Institute of Development Research and Corresponding Capabilities (IDRAC) in five districts of Punjab, where around 200 non-Muslim students, 40 teachers and 40 parents participated in the survey.

According to the report, around 60% of non-Muslim students experience or feel intolerance or disrespect directed towards them, whereas 70% of non-Muslim teachers encounter discrimination because of their different faith. Additionally, 72% of parents testified that their children had faced discrimination on school grounds.

The IDRAC Director Amjad Nazeer stated that there was a dire need to undertake reforms to end inequality and religious discrimination in educational institutions, while presenting the report.

Nazeez explained that there were different political, historical, academic, and religious beliefs responsible for society’s discriminatory behaviour and stated that around 80% of affected individuals have never bothered to complain.

A Human Rights activist and HRCP Council Member Nasreen Azhar informed that over the years, bigotry has been on the rise with a decrease in religious tolerance.

“Unfortunately, discrimination prevails at all level of society and there is a state of denial on such extreme level of discrimination,” she said

Nasreen implored the government to initiate stringent reforms to end discrimination and educate society about the principles of tolerance and equality.

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