Number of Downlaods: 55
Published Date: Dec 31, 2010
Pakistan’s public education system has
an important role in determining how successful we shall be in achieving the
goal of a progressive, moderate and democratic Pakistan. A key requirement is that
children learn to understand and value this goal and cherish the values of
truthfulness, honesty, responsibility, equality, justice, and peace that go
identities and value systems are strongly shaped by the national curricula and textbooks
in Social Studies, English, Urdu and Civics from Class I to Class XII. The responsibility
for designing them lies with the Curriculum Wing of the Federal Ministry of Education
and the provincial Text Book Boards. The Curriculum Wing is mandated to design
all pre-university curricula and issue guidelines to textbook writers and
school teachers. Provincial Textbook Boards commission writing of textbooks and
after their contents are approved by the Curriculum Wing.
analysis by a group of independent scholars shows that for over two decades the
curricula and the officially mandated textbooks in these subjects have
contained material that is directly contrary to the goals and values of a
progressive, moderate and democratic Pakistan.
March 2002 revision of curricula undertaken by the Curriculum Wing of the
Ministry of Education did not address the problems that existed in earlier
cases, these problems are now even worse. Our analysis found that some of the
most significant problems in the current curricula and textbooks are:
- Inaccuracies of
fact and omissions that serve to substantially distort the nature and
significance of actual events in our history.
- Insensitivity to
the existing religious diversity of the nation
- Incitement to
militancy and violence, including encouragement of Jehad
- Perspectives that
encourage prejudice, bigotry and discrimination towards fellow citizens,
especially women and religious minorities, and other towards nations.
- A glorification of
war and the use of force
- Omission of
concepts, events and material that could encourage critical selfawareness
- Outdated and
incoherent pedagogical practices that hinder the development of interest
and insight among students
a few examples:
books on Social Studies systematically misrepresent events that have happened throughout
history, including those which are within living memory of many people.
history is narrated with distortions and omissions. The causes, effects, and responsibility
for key events are presented so as to leave a false understanding of our national
experience. A large part of the history of South Asia
is also omitted, making it difficult to properly interpret events, and
narrowing the perspective that should be open to students. Worse, the material
is presented in ways that encourage the student to marginalize and be hostile
towards other social groups and people in the region.
curricula and textbooks are insensitive to the religious diversity of the
Pakistani society. While learning of Islamiat is compulsory for Muslim
students, on average over a quarter of the material in books to teach Urdu as a
language is on one religion. The books on English have lessons with religious
content. Islamiat is also taught in Social Studies classes. Thus, the entire is
heavily laden with religious teachings, reflecting a very narrow view held by a
minority among Muslims that all the education should be essentially that of
is a strong current of exclusivist and divisive tendencies at work in the
subject matter recommended for studies in the curriculum documents as well as
nationalism is repeatedly defined in a manner that excludes non-Muslim Pakistanis
from either being Pakistani nationals or from even being good human beings.
this material runs counter to any efforts at national integration.
Constitution of Pakistan is cited but misinterpreted, in making the reading of
the Qur’an compulsory in schools. The Constitution requires the compulsory
reading of the Qur’an for Muslim students alone, but in complete disregard of
this restriction, it is included in the textbooks of a compulsory subject like
Urdu which is to be read by students of all religions. The Class III Urdu
textbook has 7 lessons on Nazra Qur’an and its translations. The Urdu and
Social Studies curricula even ask for all the students to be taught Islamic
religious practices like Namaz and Wuzu.
severe pedagogical problems like uneven standards of lessons in books on English
and Urdu languages and bad English even in the English language books, glaring
contradictions exist in books on Social Studies. Together, these factors make
it almost impossible for students to develop critical and analytical skills.
curriculum as well as textbooks excessively emphasize the “Ideology of
Pakistan” which is a post-independence construction devised to sanctify
their politics of those political forces which were initially inimical to the
creation of Pakistan Most of the textbook problems cited above have their
origin in two sources: (1) curriculum documents and syllabi and (2) the
instructions to textbook authors issued from the Curriculum Wing of the
Ministry of Education. As long as the same institutions continue to devise
curricula, the problems will persist. Repeated interventions from the post-1988
civilian governments failed to overcome the institutional resistance.
problems are further accentuated when the authors of textbooks produce books
that are heavily laden with doctrinal material and devoid of much useful
provincial textbook boards are to be held squarely responsible for repeatedly
failing to produce textbooks that are useful and interesting to students.