Academic modification: JI wants secular material removed from textbooks

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Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) is not against the inclusion of famous personalities in curriculum textbooks; “We just want Islamic chapters removed during the previous government’s tenure to be restored and all secular, un-Islamic chapters be removed,” said the K-P local government minister.

JI member and Minister for Local Government Inayatullah Khan told The Express Tribune on Thursday the party also has reservations over a chapter in the ninth-grade Pakistan Studies textbook. “In the said chapter, Kashmir has been shown as a part of India, and pictures in the book are against our culture,” Khan added.

On Wednesday, JI’s K-P Ameer Professor Ibrahim had warned the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government if the curriculum in the province was not changed as suggested by the party, the JI would take action.

Ibrahim said his party had conveyed its reservations about the syllabus to the provincial government and suggested revisions, but those were yet to be considered.

A peaceful agenda?

The previous government led by Awami National Party (ANP) had made changes in the academic curriculum in 2006, adding chapters on peace. Material on jihad was deleted from the Islamiat textbook for grade nine and added to the syllabus for grade 11.

Chapters on non-violent personalities like Bacha Khan and Ghani Khan were also added.

Bacha Khan Education Trust Managing Director Khadim Hussain told The Express Tribuneafter the 18th Amendment, provinces have the right to include their own history, culture, literature and heroes in academic textbooks.

“During ANP’s tenure, after consultations with all parties’ members and stakeholders, it was decided that students be kept away from hate material about other religions and nations,” said Hussain.

He added the new syllabus therefore included national heroes like Bacha Khan, Ghani Khan and some famous poets and also pictures which promote education, such as children expressing an interest in going to school and enjoying learning activities.

Another revision expected

However, the incumbent PTI-led government has decided to develop a new syllabus that will reflect its version of Islamic ideology and the culture of Pakistan. The revised syllabus would be introduced in the next academic year.

Directorate of Curricula and Teacher Education (DCTE) Director Bashir Hussain Shah said so far no changes have been made to textbooks under this government; they are planned for the next academic year.

At a meeting of the education minister with all stakeholders, it was decided all issues raised by various parties would be addressed in devising the new curriculum, added Shah.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 5th, 2014.