LAHORE: The Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board (PCTB) on Tuesday once again directed chief executive officers of all district education authorities in the province to ensure implementation of a ban on social studies books being taught by a chain of private schools for printing an incorrect map of Pakistan.

PCTB Managing Director Abdul Qayyum had issued a notification for banning the books at all schools of the private chain a few months ago and a complaint for registration of a criminal case was also lodged against the school chain administration, and publisher of the books.

The notification stated that the social studies books for classes II, IV, V, VII and VIII being taught by the school contain controversial/objectionable contents, especially with reference to the map of Pakistan.

“These books are hereby banned by the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board, Lahore, on the basis of having objectionable and controversial material and have not been approved by the PCTB for the use in educational institutions in any form under Section (10) of the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board Act, 2015.”

According to the notification, the Act prohibits that no person shall, except with the prior approval of the board, print, publish, sell or prescribe in an institution any textbook or supplementary material. An application for approval to print, publish, sell or prescribe in an institution a textbook or supplementary material shall be made in such a manner and form and on the payment of such fee as may be prescribed and the board may direct any person to amend, delete or withdraw any portion or the whole of curriculum, textbook or supplementary material. The board may prohibit any person or agency from producing, printing, publishing, selling or using any textbook or supplementary material or any part of it in any institution.

The notification also states that the board shall not approve printing, publication or sale in an institution of any textbook or supplementary material which contains anything repugnant to the injunctions of Islam or contrary to the integrity, defence or security of Pakistan or any part of Pakistan, public order or morality.

The PCTB said the books in question must not be used in any way at any level in the school.

A couple of days ago, the office of the Multan District Education Authority chief executive officer had issued a letter on behalf of the Punjab public instruction director reiterating a PCTB ban on social studies textbooks for classes II, IV, V, VII and VIII being taught in a private school chain.

It stated: “I am directed to request you to go through the letter and circulate the information among all the heads of the institutions working under your wing/control as per directions for strict compliance under intimation to this office.”

Spokesman of the private school chain, Khurram Ali, said that as per the directions of the PCTB, they had removed all the books under question from all their schools. The administration had rectified the issue regarding the map after seeking a review of the books from the textbook board.

Published in Dawn, August 29th, 2018