Unity in diversity? The representation of ethnic diversity in Pakistani textbooks and through teacher and student perspectives
Kousar, R and Brett, P, Unity in diversity? The representation of ethnic diversity in Pakistani textbooks and through teacher and student perspectives, The International Journal of Learner Diversity and Identities, 29, (1) pp. 37-52. ISSN 2327-0128 (2021) [Refereed Article]
Ethnic diversity in Pakistan encompasses linguistic, religious, tribal, and regional differences. This article examines
some of the narratives around ethnic diversity in upper secondary school textbooks, the challenges of providing inclusive
opportunities for diverse groups within Pakistan faced by citizenship educators and learnersí perceptions of the
representation of ethnic diversity. The article draws on Civics and Pakistan Studies textbooks, focus group interviews with
sixteen students and semi-structured interviews with sixteen teachers from eight schools and colleges in Punjab, Pakistan.
Both the textbooks and the interviews are analyzed through the lens of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). Key messages
about citizenship from Pakistani textbooks are brought into dialogue with data gathered from interviews with Pakistani
teachers and students to illuminate contrasting perspectives on the representation of Pakistani ethnic diversity. Findings
indicate that the textbooks used in schools represent a view of Pakistan as a homogeneous country united by its distinctive
Islamic foundation and its national language. They also project an image of Pakistan attempting to offer an inclusive embrace
to those of other languages and religions within the borders of the Pakistani nation. The article concludes with some
reflections on the challenges of developing studentsí civic knowledge and understanding about multidimensional identity in
Pakistan, given the limited and idealized treatment of ethnic diversity in the analyzed texts.