“History does not only concern particular people or events. It can be studied from multiple narratives,” Danyal Ahmed, a world history teacher at Rabt summer camp, said on Sunday. He was speaking at a ceremony held to mark the end of the three-week camp at Government Pilot School in Allama Iqbal Town.
Ahmed said students at the camp, from eight to tenth grade, were taught not to rely on the view of history supported by the textbooks. “Details that the rulers may not want to be known about them are omitted by their historians,” said Adbul Wajid, a ninth grade student.
Other subjects taught at the camp were mathematics, physics, computer science, arts, drama and dance, English and public speaking. Tooba Fatima, director (Academics) at Rabtt, told The Express Tribune that encouragement of critical thinking was an aspect common to all classes at the camp. She said particular attention was paid in this regard to the design of curricula. She said before designing the courses she and other Rabt members had sat through several classes at the school to get a sense of teaching method and syllabus.
She said they had had to drop some topics (like the theory of evolution) because most children were not well-versed with the basic concepts. “We restricted the camp to teaching basic science in more interesting ways,” she said.
The ceremony included theatre and dance performances and speeches by some of the students. It concluded with distribution of certificates among the participants.
Addressing the parents of the participants, Rabtt co-founder Aneeq Cheema said they should now not discourage their children from being inquisitive. “We have made an effort to help them think about themselves, society and history. They will ask you more questions about everything in days to come,” he told them.
Brinille Eliane Ellis, public affairs officer at the United States consulate general in Lahore, the chief guest, said community service is valued in the US as it makes people with resources and skills give back to the society that enabled them to get the resources and skills. Headmaster Nazar Abbas Jafri said he was impressed with the camp when it was first held last year and had decided to continue it this summer. Another summer camp organised by Rabtt is underway at a public school in Youhanabad.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2012. Can be found at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/408740/summer-camp-textbooks-have-just-one-narrative-of-history/