Ministry ‘rejects’ smear campaign against SNC

Official says Single National Curriculum is inclusive

APP June 24, 2021
Directs officials of the National Curriculum Council Secretariat to coordinate with HEC to finalise the material. PHOTO: FILE


The Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training rejected on Tuesday what it said was a concerted campaign started by vested groups to discredit the government’s efforts to devise a Single National Curriculum (SNC) for all schools in Pakistan.

Responding to some of the falsehoods being spread, such as SNC discriminates against minorities, the Education Ministry in a statement rejected the social media campaign which says that an Ulema Board has decreed that all human figures in biology textbooks of the SNC be covered with appropriate clothes to protect their modesty.

The statement said SNC has so far only been approved till grade V. Biology is a subject that is taught from Grade IX and no textbooks for biology have so far been finalised, it added.

The federal government's approval process for science textbooks does not involve any consultation with the Muttahida Ulema Board, so any claim that the board has prohibited the inclusion of any diagrams or educational material from biology textbooks is factually inaccurate.

Read Sindh deems Single National Curriculum infeasible

Science textbooks are being developed in close consultation with renowned local and international experts and will not be approved for publishing until it is determined that they meet the required global benchmarks, the ministry elaborated. On the other hand, the Punjab Assembly has approved a law whereby an Ulema Board approves all Islamic content in the curriculum. The Punjab government has also informed the federal education ministry that no change was made in biology textbooks by the said Board.

The statement also rejected another false news. It clarified the government at any level has given no order that Qaris from madrassas would be appointed in all schools, public and private, to teach the Holy Quran. The teaching of Qirat to Muslim students is a part of the Islamiyat curriculum and mandatory.

This instruction can be provided by the existing Islamiat or Religious Studies teachers or the school can hire anyone they deem fit. This does not preclude anyone including madrassahs graduates but the decision of who to hire is of the individual school public or private and not of the federal government.

Clarifying another objection that the curriculum discriminates against minorities, the education ministry statement termed it wholly untrue. Single National Curriculum is a historic initiative introduced to eliminate Pakistan's long-standing class-based education system and create equal educational standards for all students of Pakistan, regardless of race, class, gender, and any other arbitrary marker.

It is being developed with expert input from all segments of society and is being designed in line with the pedagogical needs of the 21st century, the ministry mentioned. It is further explained that the Islamic content in the curriculum is strictly according to an act of parliament enacted in 2017. The title of the act is ‘The Compulsory Teaching of Holy Quran Act 2017’ and is mandatory on all federal institutions. This was also later adopted by all provinces except Sindh.

“The SNC has also taken special care to ensure there is no material that offends the sensibilities of any of the minorities in Pakistan. In fact, it is for the first time that a separate special curriculum has been prepared for Hindus, Christians, Bahais, Sikhs and Kalash," the spokesperson maintained.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 24th, 2021.


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