ISLAMABAD: In a major development in the country’s history related to religious minorities, the National Curriculum Council (NCC) has issued no-objection certificates (NOCs) for publishing religious books for students of seven minority groups enrolled in educational institutions supervised by the federal government.

After the NOCs, the National Book Foundation (NBF) will publish the books. The NCC issued the NOCs for publishing books on Hinduism, Sikhism, Christianity, Bahai, Zoroastrianism, Kalasha and Buddhism.

The country is going to celebrate 50 years of its constitution, which was approved in 1973. The constitution guarantees full educational rights to minority students, but there were no proper books on their religions, instead they used to read books on ethics. The NCC issued six separate NOCs for publishing books for them.

One of the NOCs issued on March 3, available with Dawn, stated that consequent upon completion of the textbooks reviewed process and on the recommendations of the review committee NOC is issued.

“NOC/approval is hereby issued for publishing of the textbooks by National Book Foundation Islamabad for use in the schools within the Islamabad Capital Territory and the ones under administrative control of federal government ministries/organisation across Pakistan subject to following conditions.”

Curriculum Council issues NOCs for publishing books on religions of seven minority groups

It said the textbooks covered all the standard learning outcome in accordance with the national curriculum for religious education 2022.

All the corrections pointed out by the reviewers have been incorporated in the textbooks.

“The NOC approval is valid till the new curriculum is approved. However, NBF will improve, update and revise any part or the whole textbooks based on the feedback from the field during implementation and submit improved version for the NOC/approval.”

It said textbooks were free from all biases related to cultural, ethnic and linguistic differences of the people of Pakistan.

“In the textbooks, there is nothing against any religion, Pakistan and organs of the state. All the references of the holy books are authentic. All the maps used in the textbooks are approved by Survey of Pakistan and the NBF.”

Before its large scale printing and supply to schools, it will be ensured that textbooks are free from any grammatical, punctuation errors and there is no violation of copyright laws in use of contents including illustration and tables in the development of these textbooks, the notification said, adding the NBF was requested to submit five copies of each book to NCC secretariat for its library and record.

It may be noted that the Ministry of Education notified the national curriculum for classes six to eight last year and subsequently students started the new academic session in August with the new books. However, the ministry did not notify the curriculum for minority students.

When Dawn highlighted the matter in August, the ministry gave approval for it.

Sources in the education ministry said that the curriculum for religious minorities had been prepared by NCC after getting detailed input from all seven communities, who with consensus, agreed on the draft curriculum.

The sources said the government was likely to publish 35 books (one each for the seven religious minorities) for classes one to five and 21 books for classes six to eight based on the number of enrolled students.

“Yes, NOCs have been issued for publishing books for the minority students. We are very happy indeed. This is a great achievement of the education ministry, NCC and the government,” said an official of the education ministry.

He said the NBF will soon start publishing the books and in the upcoming academic session the students of will be provided the books.

Published in Dawn, March 6th, 2023

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