LAHORE: The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) and the Working Group for Inclusive Education (WGIE) demanded that independent experts’ voices should be given due consideration regarding the religious content included in the Single National Curriculum (SNC).

The Centre for Social Justice and the WGIE after reviewing the final SNC core curriculum for classes 6-8 observed that the revised curriculum did not incorporate most of the changes that were suggested to the NCC for English, Urdu, Geography and History.

A seminar on “How the school curriculum is evolving” was organised on Wednesday to highlight the gaps in the curriculum and violations of constitution.

Centre for Social Justice Director Peter Jacob said the Punjab government was ignoring the learning losses incurred due to pandemic and other factors and turning the schools into seminaries reducing the scope of education in science, mathematics and social science.

He demanded that the government make Article 20, 22(1) 25-A, of the Constitution of Pakistan the guiding principles for curricula.

He further demanded that minority students must not be forced to study Islamiat under any excuse, and teachers must be hired to teach minority students their own religion as alternative to Islamiat as promised in the Single National Curriculum.

Zeeba Hashmi observed that neutral themes in English textbooks such as tolerance and fairness are embedded with religious ideals and Islamic principles, which result in making the students with diverse faith backgrounds feel alienated.

She said the curriculum for the subject of history does not acknowledge religious and cultural diversity of Pakistan, which leaves an impression that cultural, religious, and ethnic minorities are disassociated and disengaged.

Dr AH Nayyar said the government was reinforcing rote learning and imposing religiosity upon the students.

The participants also recommended embedding Islamic content under different themes such as tolerance and fairness may result in repetition for Muslim students and alienation of the minority students.

They said important issues on harms of discrimination and conflict resolution get overshadowed in sub-themes under peaceful coexistence and avoiding social evils.

Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2022

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