Saturday Report: Teaching Global Issues in conservative contexts

Saturday Report: Teaching Global Issues in conservative contexts
Saturday Report: Teaching Global Issues in conservative contexts

Contexts impact the outcome of teaching in terms of learning as teaching in terms of philosophical considerations, moral and societal beliefs, norms of education, law and order, religious perspectives, and socio-political scenario. Professor Ismat Zarin reports on why conservative contexts of teaching in terms of religion, teaching global issues e.g. gender equality, religious tolerance, human rights, etc. can turn extremely challenging.

Teaching a pressing global issue like gender equality can have practical challenging conditions. Primarily, students bear the mindset shaped by the social and familial scenario that they have been nurtured in. For example, a student has never seen any woman as the bread earner in his/ her family, it would be difficult to instill the ideas of gender equality in that student. Another critical issue to consider is, carrying an alternative mindset as opposing to the society that a student belongs to can cause him/ her to be bullied and stigmatized in some cases.

Suppose, it is taught to the student that a person has the essential and basic human right to choose his outfit. This idea eventually is not acceptable in conservative Muslim contexts for women as the social and religious norms as well as state law has decided on a particular outfit. Additionally, gender equality is about having a progressive mind in case of a man-woman relationship which defies the established norms and beliefs of conservative societies in many cases e.g. equal position in the family, child-rearing, and caregiving to elders.

Nevertheless,  challenging contexts require innovative and implied teaching-learning with innovative techniques.In such cases, onsite and online platforms ensuring exchange of  ideas at an international levelmay come handy.

Ismat Zarin is an Assistant Professor at University of Asia Pacific and WhatsOn columnist.