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Pakistan: Independent report identifies biases against religious minorities in textbooks

5 September 2012

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[posted below are news reports from Daily Times and The News]

Daily Times, September 06, 2012

‘Biased syllabus main reason for radicalisation of youth’

* Study blames Punjab and Sindh Text Book Boards for promoting hate material

KARACHI: Speakers at launching ceremony of a study ‘Education or Fanatic Literacy’ resolved on Wednesday that biased syllabus is major reason behind radicalisation of Pakistani youth and deteriorating education quality in the country.

The study ‘Taleem Ya Nafrat Ki Aabiyari’ (education or fanatic literacy) was launched at a joint press conference organised by the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) and Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER) at the Karachi Press Club.

Speakers, including Archbishop Joseph Coutts, Peter Jacob and others, noted that the civil society organs raised voice on this issue of vital importance, however, successive governments turned a deaf ear to the voice of sanity. The recent education policy in 2009 also ignored the issue while the provincial Text Book Boards, especially in Punjab and Sindh even enhanced the hate materials in syllabus in 2012, they added.

The speakers underlined the need of serious reforms in the education sector in general and curriculum policy in particular. Biases and preferences based on religion and belief in the syllabus were seen as divisive.

The study examined 22 textbooks for the academic year 2012-13, under use in the provinces of Punjab and Sindh for grades 1–10. There are 55 chapters containing hate against Hindus, India, and Christians, insulting remarks against the minority religions and distorted historical facts.

Besides showing the evidence and trends of religious biases in the textbooks under use from class 1-10, in Punjab and Sindh, the study identifies biases against the religious minorities in Pakistan in the education policy itself eg no alternative for studying faiths other than majority religion, extra marks only for showing proficiency in majority religious scripture.

The textbooks heavily rely on the rhetoric that Hindus opposed while Muslims favoured creation of Pakistan. During partition, only Muslims faced violent attacks, loss of life and property, whereas Muslims did not take part in this bloodshed. The whole treatment and arrangement of textbooks is visibly discriminatory against non-Muslim citizens of Pakistan, violating Articles 18, 20, 22 and 25, in particular.

The study showed that hate based material in Punjab textbooks increased in 2012-13. While in 2009, there were 45 hate speeches in the books. The number increased to 122 in 2012-13. The textbooks of Urdu and Pakistan Study of grade 7-10 carry most of the hate-based material. staff report

The News

Hate speech in high school textbooks on the rise

Ammar Shahbazi

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Karachi

Students across Sindh and Punjab are being taught to hate Hindus and Christians and historical facts about the genesis of the country are often twisted to suit the national narrative, claims a report.

The report takes data from 22 textbooks currently being used in Punjab and Sindh in grades 1-10 for the academic year 2012-13. The data reveals that there are 55 chapters containing hate speech against Hindus, India, and Christians, besides insulting remarks against minority religions and distortion of historical facts.

The report, titled ‘Taleem ya Nafrat ki Aabiyari’ (Education or fanatic literacy), was made public at a press conference held at the Karachi Press Club here on Wednesday. The press conference was jointly organised by the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) and the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education & Research (Piler).

Besides showing evidence of religious biases in textbooks, the report also identifies biases against religious minorities in Pakistan

“These books rely heavily on the rhetoric that Hindus opposed the creation of Pakistan. For instance, it is claimed that it was only Muslims who faced violent attacks, loss of life and property during partition, and that they [Muslims] were not responsible for any of the bloodshed,” said one speaker.

“The whole treatment and arrangement of textbooks is visibly discriminatory against the non-Muslim citizens of Pakistan, and are in violation of articles 18, 20, 22 and 25,” they added.

The study showed that instances of hate speech in Punjab textbooks increased in 2012-13. There were 45 instances of hate speech in Punjab textbooks in 2009, as opposed to 122 in 2012-13. It also noted that hate speech was most prevalent in textbooks of Urdu and Pakistan Studies between grades 7 and 10.

Similarly, there were 11 lessons carrying hate speech in Sindh during the academic years 2009-11. This number increased to 22 in 2012-13. The speakers listed biased syllabi as the primary reason for the radicalisation of Pakistani youth and deteriorating quality of education.

One speaker regretted that the successive governments had turned a deaf ear to this issue, despite civil society having raised its voice against it on a number of occasions.

“The recent education policy in 2009 also ignored the issue while the provincial Textbook Boards, especially in Punjab and Sindh, even enhanced hate materials in the 2012 syllabus,” they claimed.

A number of speakers underlined the need for drastic reforms in the education sector in general and the curriculum policy in particular.

P.S.

The above reports are reproduced here in public interest and are for non commercial use