Professor Anjum Paul presents a memorandum on Curriculum reforms by Ministry of Education in Pakistan.
21 Mar 2007
Mr. Arif Majeed
Joint Educational Advisor
Ministry of Education
Subject:- COMMENTS ON EDUCATION POLICY/CURRICULUM REFORM
Greetings from Pakistan Minorities Teachers Association (PMTA).
Reference letter No.F.33-17/2007-IE, dated 26th February, 2007. According to the New Scheme of Studies subject of Arabic is optional. Similarly Islamyat is compulsory for Muslims and Ethics for non-Muslims. 20 numbers of Nazra (memorizing the Holy Quran by heart) for the Muslim students are a part of curriculum which is a direct benefit to such students on all levels. This is a sort of assassination with the students of minorities. It is also not mentioned what will be the subject against Arabic and who will teach Ethics to the minorities' students. A non-Muslim cannot teach Islamyat in the education sector then has the government launched a policy to recruit teachers from the minorities at the school, college and university level before the implementation of this policy?
PMTA has a dream like Martin Luther King Jr. but this dream is of FAITH/S but not of SKIN. A dream that religious minorities of Pakistan will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by their faiths but by the content of equality. We shall have to continue our efforts to reshape Pakistan as an enlightened and moderate country according to the vision of the Father of the Nation Quaid- e- Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah through the values of equality, love, tolerance, acceptance and harmony and this was well said by him in his first speech to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947. This dream can become true only when such values are taught in the curriculum when an innocent child gets admission in the educational institution.
PMTA strongly condemns such an education policy that violates the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child signed by Pakistan in 1990. It is again strongly recommended that either the subject of Religion for all or none. Subject of Islmayat for Muslims and Ethics for Minorities is discrimination. Minorities' students have to appear in Islamyat due to the unavailability of books and teachers .Secondly they fear that if they appear in the subject of Ethics then there will be discrimination with them by the examiners. Religious education according to one's respective faith is a Right under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child signed by Pakistan (1990).Therefore it is the responsibility of the state to make arrangement for religious education of students of each minority according to her respective faith as it is in the matter of majority community. It has repeatedly brought into the notice of the Ministry of Education and the esteemed offices but all in vain. Students of minorities are forced to study Islam; values of Islam and Islamic heroes .There is disgracing and degradation of the teachings and values of other religions through propagation mainly in the subjects of social sciences and especially in Urdu and Social/Pakistan Studies.
PMTA was expecting a ray of hope but is disappointed to learn that Ministry of education has done nothing but to disappoint religious minorities through this New Scheme of Studies. It is as biased as the previous Education Policies against religious minorities of Pakistan. Pakistan will violate UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Constitution of Pakistan 1973 by implementing such a discriminatory policy.
PMTA wants to show you a glimpse of the prejudicial attitude on the basis of religion with the religious minority and in the present curriculum and expecting the same in the New Scheme of Studies as it is obvious .You can see the standard and approach of the authors and Punjab Text Book Board, Lahore that has published these books by the instructions and prior permission of the National Curriculum Review Committee for manuscript..
Meri Kitab (My Book) is taught in grade 1. Its first 6 chapters out of 18 are totally based on the teachings of Islam .Kindly keep in mind that this is not the book on Islamic Studies. What impression these Text Book Boards are leaving in the innocent minds and souls of these students of minorities? Four other books are of Civics and Pakistan Studies Grade 11 and 12 .These books have also been updated in general along with recommendations to remove prejudicial matter.
PMTA feels sorry to say that Pakistani Text Book Boards are playing role of cleric in preaching Islam without caring or respecting other religions. Shall someone allow one's son or daughter to go to educational institution just to learn hatred, prejudice and discrimination for being minority? There are not lessons on harmony, peace, tolerance, human rights and humanity in the curriculum in general. The ultimate result is before us as we see intolerance in the over all society. We harvest what we grow. It is the curriculum that lay the foundation of a nation .Ministry of education is responsible for the construction or destruction of the minds of the people. A new world is possible if possible steps are taken by the curriculum wing to change the fate of the nation.
Serial Name of book Grade Edition Updated Pages Total pages of book
1. Meri Kitab (My Book 1 Jan.2005 21 02 40
2. Civics 12 Jun.2005 521 39 293
3. Civics 11 Jan.2006 202 14 279
4. Pakistan Studies 12 Feb.2006 276 31 257
5. Civics 12 Experimental 2006 301 24 118
Professor Anjum James Paul