Human rights added in Sindh textbooks

Court told on Thursday during hearing on inclusion of subject at public schools

According to the education secretary, the education and literacy department has also drafted a bill, which makes it mandatory for children in Sindh to get an education. PHOTO: AYESHA MIR/ EXPRESS


To promote tolerance and harmony, the provincial education department has started developing a curriculum on fundamental human rights in the textbooks for up to Intermediate.

This was stated in a compliance report filed by the provincial education and literacy department secretary, Dr Fazlullah Pechuho, in the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday. The division bench, headed by SHC chief justice Sajjad Ali Shah, was hearing the case on the inclusion of human rights in the school syllabus.

The petition was filed by lawyer Zubair Ahmed Khaskheli, who had accused the education department of failing to take any action despite being told by the court to include fundamental and human rights as a compulsory subject for higher secondary education from the academic year 2015.

On December 15, 2015, the two judges had granted six weeks more to the authorities to implement the court orders and submit a compliance report. On Thursday, additional advocate-general Ghulam Mustafa Mahesar filed the report on behalf of the education secretary.

The chapters highlighting human rights, as mentioned in chapter one of the Constitution of Pakistan, have been incorporated in the new textbooks for classes one to seven, said Pechuho's report. These chapters have been included in the general knowledge textbook for classes two and three, and in the social studies textbook for classes four and five. The additions in the textbooks for classes eight to Intermediate in under way, stated the report.

These concepts are organised in a very systematic manner by educationists and child psychologists while preparing the curriculum documents, it added. The secretary said that a copy of the subject-wise report has already been submitted in court. These concepts will be covered extensively in the new books, he assured.

According to Pechuho, the education and literacy department has also drafted a bill under the Sindh Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2013, which makes it mandatory for a child to get education. The Sindh government is making efforts under the Sindh School Education Standards and Curriculum Act, 2014, to formulate schemes regarding curriculum development and implementation, including textbooks assessments, he said.

The government will ensure full compliance of the court's directives while devising future education policies and schemes highlighting human rights contained in the United Nations' charters, Geneva conventions and other conventions, the report added.

With this assurance, the education secretary requested the court dispose of the petition. The bench took the compliance report on record and adjourned the hearing.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 15th, 2016.


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