PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led (PTI) government in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa has agreed to revisions in the curriculum for government schools here – including the removal of pictures of schoolgirls with their heads uncovered – for the new academic session commencing April 1, 2015.
The PTI’s coalition partner Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) raised objections over the curriculum which was approved in 2006. The JI said Islamic chapters had been removed in 2006 syllabus; the party also wanted secular chapters removed from the textbooks. The religious party asked for the removal of “objectionable” materials and the addition of 18 Quranic verses to grade 9 Chemistry book and “Assalam-o-Alaikum” instead of “Good Morning” being taught in first graders’ textbooks.
The JI expressed reservations over images in the Science textbooks for grade 4 and demanded the exclusion of chapters on Raja Dahir and Ranjit Singh in Pakistan Studies grade 8. As per the revised curriculum earlier, verses on jihad were removed from the ninth-grade Islamiat textbook and added to the grade 11 course.
The JI had requested these changes in September and warned the PTI government that what it saw as objectionable material must be removed from the texts or “the JI would be independent to decide its future course of action.”
According to Directorate of Curricula and Teacher Education (DCTE) Director Bashir Hussain Shah, the provincial government has accepted all of JI’s demands. The education department has notified all public sector institutes to revert to the curriculum set in 2002. The government managed to convince JI leaders to leave chapters on Bacha Khan and other Pukhtun personalities in the syllabus.
Earlier this month, Minister for Higher Education Mushtaq Ghani told a delegation of Peshawar Textbook Board that all objectionable material had been eliminated from textbooks.
He added that ‘objectionable material’ was included in books in 2006-2007, but the PTI government took notice and after long consultations with alliance parties and educations experts, it had decided to remove such material.
“From the next academic session new books will be taught in our province’s schools which will not have any objectionable material,” said Ghani. He added 4.5 million new books need to be printed and the government was trying to get that done as soon as possible.
A history of revisions
In 2006, the federal government wanted to remove duplication from various primary and secondary level textbooks and therefore the syllabus for all government schools was changed. However, the then MMA government in K-P condemned the centre’s decision. It formed a committee comprising leaders of various political parties and asked the federal government to refrain from making these changes; some of its demands were accepted.
In 2010, the 18th Amendment brought education under the province’s control and the ANP-led government of the time made some more changes to the syllabus.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2014.