LAHORE: The provincial government has barred the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board (PCTB) from publishing books for grade 6 to 8 under the Single National Curriculum (SNC).

The PCTB has been directed to publish the books of the previous syllabus.

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led government had introduced the first phase of the SNC during the last academic year for classes 1 to 5. The SNC was launched with the objective of ending disparity in society and providing equal chance to all students to excel.

Sources claimed that a senior government representative had called a meeting of the PCTB, school education department officials and other publishers at his home last week.

PCTB barred from publishing grade 6 to 8 books

The meeting discussed the publishing of books for the upcoming academic year starting in May.

The participants in the meeting had discussed at length the second phase of the SNC for the middle classes and it was decided to roll it back for grade 6 to 8.

The government representative has directed the PCTB to allow the private publisher(s) to print the previous syllabus for the middle classes.

The senior government representative was of the view that they would check the matter of the syllabus and would remove the ‘agenda-driven’ material from the curriculum.

The representative said the previous government was sloganeering to bring the madressahs into the mainstream [education] but it had practically turned the schools into madressahs.

He said the government would have to end the disparity and provide equal chances to all students to excel but the system had increased disparity in the society.

He said the previous government on the pretext of SNC and reforms in the education sector, had excluded the science subjects from classes and all the elite schools were allowed to continue with their syllabus. “The government had created further divisions and introduced a class-based system in primary education,” he said.

Previously, the educationists and human right activists had also termed the SNC in violation of article 22 of the Constitution.

The Centre for Social Justice and the Working Group for Inclusive Education (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 National Curriculum Council (NCC) for English, Urdu, Geography and History.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 sciences.

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 minorities students must not be forced to study Islamiat under any excuse, and teachers must be hired to teach students their own religion as alternative to Islamiat as promised in the SNC.

Published in Dawn,May 3rd, 2022

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