eCite Digital Repository

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, 19, (1) pp. 37-52. ISSN 2327-0128 (2021) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

© Common Ground Research Networks, Rehana Kousar, Peter Brett,

DOI: doi:10.18848/2327-0128/CGP/v29i01/37-52


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.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:citizenship education, textbooks, ethnic diversity, critical discourse analysis
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Curriculum and pedagogy
Research Field:Humanities and social sciences curriculum and pedagogy (excl. economics, business and management)
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Teaching and curriculum
Objective Field:Teaching and curriculum not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Kousar, R (Miss Rehana Kousar)
UTAS Author:Brett, P (Dr Peter Brett)
ID Code:147726
Year Published:2021
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2021-11-12
Last Modified:2021-12-08

Repository Staff Only: item control page