NACTA, HEC agree to include counter-terrorism in curriculum


–Efforts being made to review existing subjects to combat hate speech, radicalisation on campus

ISLAMABAD: Keeping in view the rising incidents of extremism in the educational institutions, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) have agreed to review the existing curriculum and include subjects being taught at the international level for combating terrorisms and extremism.

Both parties would work together to find ways and means to bring madrassah and university students closer to deal with the menace of extremism and terrorism, besides making recommendations for its improvement to counter extremism, hate material, radicalisation and terrorism.

In this regard, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed here on Thursday to engage the faculty members and students from universities across Pakistan in developing a national strategy to counter the on-campus extremism.

The MoU was signed by NACTA National Coordinator Khaliq Dad Lak and HEC Acting Executive Director Lt Gen (r) Muhammad Asghar.

The purpose and scope of the MoU are to foster a partnership between the NACTA and HEC to establish a sustained and effective collaboration between the two in combating extremism and terrorism in the country through joint research, collaboration and by consolidating existing research work in the said areas.

This will help in promoting the research culture in the public sector as well as improving the policy-making process. Besides, it will help enhance awareness/prevention against extremist ideologies and mindset and to provide education on the topics of counter extremism and counter-terrorism through a participatory approach of the HEC and to increase awareness programs through the support of HEC.

Speaking on the occasion, Asghar said that HEC has been very actively promoting the cause of peace at universities.

“The HEC has heavily invested in security at universities,” he stated. He observed that extremism is an international phenomenon which has impacted a major part of the world.

He hoped that the partnership between HEC and NACTA will help sensitise students, faculty and the entire academia on the menace of extremism and terrorism. He said the universities play a very vital role in training youth and inculcating a moderate approach to life in their minds.

He underlined that Islam is a religion of peace and there is a need for promoting the true teachings of Islam. “We hope HEC and NACTA will work very closely in the years to come to address the multi-dimensional causes of extremism,” he concluded.

NACTA’s Khaliq Dad appreciated HEC for partnering with NACTA in its efforts to counter extremism and terrorism. He said NACTA devises national anti-terrorism strategies, adding that it carries out research on various aspects of terrorism. He hoped that the HEC-NACTA partnership will help utilise the research conducted related to causes, threats and solutions of terrorism.

The HEC and NACTA will carry out research on topics relevant to terrorism and extremism. The HEC will give NACTA online access to research journals on topics pertaining to extremism and terrorism.

They with mutual collaboration and support will undertake awareness programs and activities for the students in the areas of counter extremism, de-radicalisation and counter-terrorism through seminars, workshops, essay competition, debates, sports events, dramas, cultural activities and social media etc.

They agreed on the point to utilise the FM radio channels of the universities to deal with the terrorism, besides sensitising teachers by undertaking workshops, seminars and discussions programs for teachers.