Human Rights Education in Asian Schools Volume VII
Insensitivity of Pakistani School Education to Religious Diversity of the Nation*
It is reasonable to expect Pakistan to do its best to impart a sense of belonging and even-handedness to all of its citizens irrespective of their faith, caste, and creed. While demanding contributions from all to its development and prosperity, the nation cannot afford to deny equal status and rights to some on the basis of their faith. Otherwise, those deprived are likely to become alienated from the society. Islamization of the society since the early eighties has done just that.
Besides being multilingual and multiethnic, Pakistan is a multi-religion society. Non-Muslims are a sizeable part of the society, many of whom have contributed enormously to its wellbeing. Names such as A.R. Cornelius, Dorab Patel, Sobho Gianchandani, Cecil Choudhry, Bapsi Sidhwa, and many others are a source of pride for Pakistan.
Pakistan's population has always been overwhelmingly Muslim. Not surprisingly, therefore, the culture, idioms, and manners of the majority gained currency and, in turn, were reflected in education, imposing Muslim sensibilities onto the rest of the society. However, the effort to mold the minds of the young through textbooks is a later phenomenon, having started in earnest only since the early 1980s with the political agenda to Islamize the state. Curriculums were redesigned and textbooks rewritten to create a monolithic image of Pakistan as an Islamic state, and of Pakistani citizens as Muslims only, clearly teaching young non-Muslim students that they are excluded from the national identity.
One could take this to be a result of the usual insensitivity of the majority toward the needs and aspirations of the minority, as would happen anywhere. Such majoritarianism is not confined to religious expression alone. Majoritarianism also shows up in the national, linguistic, and other expressions. However, since it was not experienced in curriculums and textbooks before Islamization, the obvious conclusion is that Muslim majoritarianism is the result of Islamization.
Muslim majoritarianism amounts to creating an environment for non-Muslims in which (i) they become second-class citizens with lesser rights and privileges, (ii) their patriotism becomes suspect, and (iii) their contribution to the society is ignored. The result is that they can easily cease to have any stake in society.
For orthodox Muslims, whose interpretation of Islam forms the basis of the Islamization agenda, non-Muslims in a society governed by Islamic laws are dhimmis
--liable to be levied protection money, jizyah
; absolved of any military duty, Jehad
; and doomed to enjoying limited rights. Within this belief system, therefore, full national rights and privileges can be denied to religious minorities. Present-day curriculums and textbooks reinforce this denial.
The program of study designed under Islamization was in keeping with the philosophy of education of one particular school of Islamic thought that asserts that the entire source of knowledge is what was revealed by Allah and that worldly knowledge is to be in the context of the revealed knowledge. Syed Abul A'la Maudoodi of Jama'at-e-Islami argued that in an Islamic society, all that is taught ought to be in the context of the revealed knowledge; therefore, every subject becomes Islamiat.
A direct outcome of this philosophy of education has been the following basic principle that recurs repeatedly in curriculum documents: teaching material has no concept of separation between the worldly and the religious; rather, all material is presented from the Islamic point of view.
Much of the educational material prepared during Islamization was based on this principle, and it continues to guide educational philosophy and practice even today.
I deal in this essay specifically with three educational subjects--social studies or Pakistan studies, Urdu, and English--which students of all religions are required to learn. Islamiat is, of course, also compulsory, but for Muslim students alone.
Four themes emerge as constituting the bulk of the curriculums and textbooks of the three compulsory subjects:
Pakistanis as Muslims Alone
- Pakistan is for Muslims alone.
- Islamiat is to be forcibly taught to all the students, whatever their faith, including a compulsory reading of Qur'an.
- The ideology of Pakistan is to be internalized as faith, and hate created against Hindus and India.
- Students are urged to take the path of Jehad and Shahadat (martyrdom).
Equating Muslim and Pakistani identities starts early in education. For example, the most recent National Early Childhood Education Curriculum (NECEC),
released in March 2002, requires nurturing in children a sense of Islamic identity and pride in being Pakistani.
There is no mention that this is to be done among Muslim students alone. The suggested material under this objective is all Islamiat, which is to be read by pupils of all religions.
Class-IV students are required to regard Pakistan as an Islamic state, and acquire deep love for it.
For Class-IV and -V students, the Urdu curriculum requires that a feeling be created among students that they are members of a Muslim nation. Therefore, in accordance with the Islamic tradition, they have to be truthful, honest, patriotic, and life-sacrificing mujahids (holy warriors).
The curriculum also requires the following:
- Talk about Deen (for example, Allah is one; Muhammad [pbuh] is our dear Prophet; we are Muslims).
- We must believe that Pakistan exists to safeguard Islamic beliefs and culture.
- We must know that the real basis for the strength of Pakistan is Islam.
- Educate and train future generations to be true practicing Muslims.
- Develop a sense of pride in being Muslim and Pakistani.
- Know that national culture is not the local culture or local customs but the principles laid down by Islam.
The textbooks then pick up from this point and express these requirements. The class-II Urdu book has a lesson, "Our Country," the first sentences of which read: "Our country is Pakistan. We live in our country. Pakistan is an Islamic country. Here Muslims live. Muslims believe in the unity of Allah. They do good deeds."
The class-VI book says: "Who am I? I am a Muslim. I am a Pakistani. I love my country and I love my people... You know that you are a Muslim and your religion is Islam."
It conveys a very harmful message: being a Pakistani is equated with being a Muslim, and that only Muslims are true Pakistani citizens. Patriotism has been equated with Islamic zeal. The way it has been said clearly alienates religious minorities.
A book lists acchi baten
(good deeds) among them, "Good people are those who read the Qur'an and teach the Qur'an to others,
implying that those of another faith cannot be good."
Compulsory Teaching of Islamiat to Non-Muslim Students
The educational material attempts to teach Islamiat to all the students, irrespective of their faith, through the compulsory subjects of social and Pakistan studies, Urdu, and English. Although non-Muslims are not required to take the fourth compulsory subject of Islamiat, there is an extraordinary incentive for them in the form of 25% additional marks to do so.
The curriculums of all these subjects require all Pakistanis, irrespective of their faith, to love, respect, be proud of, and practice Islamic principles, traditions, customs, rituals, etc.
NECEC imparts to primary-school children the following "life skills":
- Use greetings such as Assalam o Alaikum (Peace on you, a common Muslim greeting phrase).
- Know when to say Bismillah (In the name of Allah).
- Recite the first Kalemah (Prayer hymn) and understand its meaning.
- Name the five daily prayers.
- Learn about Ramadhan and Eidain.
The primary education curriculum of 1995 lays down the following objective in the Urdu curriculum:
- Create awareness of and love for Islamic beliefs, and bring up children according to Islamic values.
- Be proud of the Islamic way of life, and try to acquire and adopt Islamic teachings.
- Adopt the Islamic way of life.
- Participate in Salat Ba-Jamat (praying in congregation) in mosques, to develop a sense of respect for Muezzin and Imam
- Read the Qur'an and respect it.
- Listen to stories of events from Islamic history and derive pleasure from them.
- Respect Islamic beliefs and practices.
- Study religious books to understand Qur'anic teachings.
- Respect Islamic or national customs and urge others to do the same.
- Love Islamic traditions.
- Include such subjects in textbooks in sufficient numbers to emphasize the importance and greatness of Islam.
- Arrange functions and events on Islamic and national themes, and ask students to memorize poems that express national and Islamic sentiments.
- The list is unending.
The Urdu language curriculum even prescribes lessons. A small sample follows:
Suggestions for preparing textbooks
- Book topics
- Events from the life of the Holy Prophet, His family, and Islamic leaders (imams)
- Stories from the history of Islam
- True friendship (from the life of Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddique)
- Islamic preachers
- Famous women of Islam
- Golden quotes (sayings of the Muslim thinkers, religious scholars, and spiritual leaders)
Topics for lessons
- Events from the life of the Holy Prophet, His family, and Islamic leaders
- Stories of imams and the Prophet's companions
- Sacrifice (from the life of Hazrat Usman)
- Stories about the Pakistan movement, eminent personalities of Pakistan, and martyrs of Pakistan
- Simple stories to urge Jehad
- Unity of the Islamic world
It is worth noting that the most recent Urdu textbooks in Punjab and the Federal Area have religious (Islamic) content in the following proportions:
|Class I||4 out of 25 lessons|
|Class II||8 out of 33 lessons|
|Class II||22 out of 44 lessons|
|Class III||23 out of 51 lessons|
|Class IV||10 out of 45 lessons|
|Class V||7 out of 34 lessons|
|Class VI||14 out of 46 lessons|
|Class VII||16 out of 53 lessons|
|Class VIII||15 out of 46 lessons|
|Class IX-X ||10 out of 68 lessons|
Details are in the appendix.
Similarly, all the textbooks for social studies, another compulsory subject that starts from class III, have at least four chapters on personalities, which are invariably Islamic religious personalities.
|Class III:||Chapters on the prophets Adam, Abraham, Jesus, and Mohammad (pbuh)|
|Class III:||Chapters on the prophets Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammad (pbuh)|
|Class IV:||Chapters on Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), Hazrat Abu Bakr, Hazrat Umar, and Hazrat Khadija|
|Class V:||Hazrat Fatima (ra), Mohammad bin Qasim, Shah Waliullah|
Thus all non-Muslim students in the mainstream educational system are forcibly taught Islamic religious studies. In fact, the most recent national curriculum document clearly shows itself to be grossly insensitive to the existence and need of non-Muslim students when it requires the following as objectives of teaching Urdu language:
- Create love for religion and respect for personalities.
- Believe in the Unity of God, and know that Allah is the creator of the universe.
- Regard Islamic ways as the best of all.
- Revere all the messengers of God, Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), His family members, His companions, the Imams, and the leaders, and try to know their teachings and adopt their ways.
- Maintain affinity (love) with the Islamic world.
- Respect the leaders, books, and places of worship of other religions.
- Be aware of the blessings of Jehad, and create yearning for Jehad.
Compulsory reading of Qur'an: Misrepresenting and violating the Constitution of Pakistan
The second, and more disturbing, part of the drive to include Islamic teachings is to make the non-Muslim students read Qur'an, not in Islamiat, which they are not required to learn, but in the compulsory subject of Urdu.
Urdu textbooks from classes I to III, which are compulsory for students of all faiths, contain lessons on learning to read Qur'an: progressing from class I where the Arabic alphabet is introduced in a lesson titled Iqra
, to the lesson titled E'rab
on punctuation in the class-II Urdu book, to the lessons in the class-III Urdu book Qur'an Parhna
(Reading the Qur'an), which has 7 lessons (out of 51) on learning to read Qur'an. Interestingly, these lessons are not prescribed in the Urdu curriculums of these classes.
This clearly violates the rights of religious minorities.
The national curriculum of March 2002 lays down the following as the first objective:
To make the Qur'anic principles and Islamic practices as an integral part of curricula so that the message of the Holy Qur'an could be disseminated in the process of education as well as training. To educate and train the future generations of Pakistan as a true practicing Muslim who"
The objective ostensibly follows the national education policy, which describes it as a constitutional requirement. Article 31 of the Constitution says:
The state shall endeavor, as respects the Muslims of Pakistan:
(a) to make the teaching of the Holy Qur'an and Islamiat compulsory, to encourage and facilitate the learning of Arabic language...; [emphasis added]
Clearly, the learning of the Qur'an and Islamiat is compulsory for Muslims only, and making non-Muslims learn them by including them in compulsory subjects violates the rights of minorities assured in Article 36 of the Constitution: "The State shall safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of minorities..."
If by this exercise, the curriculum designers thought that they were popularizing Islam among non-Muslim students, they were sadly mistaken. The only thing the curriculum designers have been able to achieve is to alienate non-Muslim population, at a grave cost to national integration.
Assertion of the Ideology of Pakistan
Many scholars have forcefully argued with the help of historical records that the term "ideology of Pakistan" was nonexistent when Pakistan was created. Justice Mohammad Munir has clearly identified the time when the phrase was coined. In his monograph From Jinnah to Zia
The Quaid-i-Azam never used the words "Ideology of Pakistan" ... For fifteen years after the establishment of Pakistan, the Ideology of Pakistan was not known to anybody until in 1962 a solitary member of the Jama'at-I-Islami used the words for the first time when the Political Parties Bill was being discussed. On this, Chaudhry Fazal Elahi, who has recently retired as President of Pakistan, rose from his seat and objected that the "Ideology of Pakistan" shall have to be defined. The member who had proposed the original amendment replied that the "Ideology of Pakistan was Islam"...
Thus the phrase had no historical basis in the Pakistan movement but was coined much later by political forces that needed it to sanctify their particular brand of politics, especially those who had earlier been against the creation of Pakistan. It is no wonder that the Jama'at-i-Islami (The Islamic Party) and people akin to the politics of the Jama'at use this phrase extensively.
Although--as Justice Munir has noted, with whom every authority on the Quaid-i-Azam would agree--the Quaid never uttered the words "Ideology of Pakistan," yet the curriculum documents insist that the students be taught that the Quaid advocated its teaching.
The Ideology of Pakistan as enunciated by Quaid-i-Azam
On the same page, the curriculum requires the following from the textbook writers: "The chapter should present the Ideology of Pakistan as enunciated by Quaid-i-Azam and should include relevant documented references."
Needless to say, no textbook has ever been able to cite a single reference Mohammad Ali Jinnah using the term Ideology of Pakistan. On the contrary, Jinnah's speech to the Constituent Assembly on the 11 September 1947 is completely contrary to the so-called Ideology of Pakistan.
It was during the Islamization era of General Zia-ul-Haq that the use of the term was consolidated and made to appear in every nook and corner of educational material. A sample of quotations from curriculum documents below shows how the term has been sanctified and turned into an article of faith:
- The Ideology of Pakistan should be presented as an accepted reality, and be never subjected to discussion or dispute.
- The Ideology of Pakistan should be presented as an accepted reality, and should never be made controversial and debatable.
- Attempt is made to make the curriculum more representative and responsive to the Ideology of Pakistan and societal needs.
- ...so that the Ideology of Pakistan could permeate the thinking of young generation...
- Demonstrate an appreciation of the Ideology of Pakistan.
- Find pleasure in the protection of the Ideology of Pakistan...
- Understand Islam and Ideology of Pakistan, and feel them deep in heart.
- To promote understanding of socioeconomic and socio-cultural aspects of Pakistani society, the Ideology of Pakistan and struggle for Pakistan.
- Care should be taken in the composition and editing of the essays that there ought to come out an angle of propagation of Islam and the Ideology of Pakistan.
- For speeches, writings and discussions, such topics be chosen that represent positive thinking about Islam and Pakistan, and those topics be avoided that negate or denigrate Islamic values and the Ideology of Pakistan.
- Teachers must thoroughly study the Ideology of Pakistan.
- Understand Islam and Ideology of Pakistan, and feel them deep in one's heart.
- Essays creating deep love for Islam and Ideology of Pakistan.
- To develop a sense of love for the Ideology of Pakistan.
- Love for Ideology of Pakistan.
- Enhance a sense of respect for Cooperation and preservation of the Ideology of Pakistan.
- Cognitive objective: Knowledge of the Ideology of Pakistan.
- To create sentiments for the protection of the Ideology of Pakistan, love for the country, ...
- Be able to propagate the important values and traditions of Islam... and adopt national values in accordance with the Ideology of Pakistan.
- To create sentiments for love of the country, safeguarding the Ideology of Pakistan...
- Deepening the awareness of the Ideology of Pakistan
- Enable the students to become a responsible, confident and patriot towards the Ideology of Pakistan
- To explain Ideology of Pakistan; meaning and nature of Ideology of Pakistan. To demonstrate the faith in Ideology of Pakistan
- While writing the textbooks, material contrary to the Ideology of Pakistan which may injure the feelings of different sects, or which may create hatred against any Muslim leading personality may be avoided
- The only illegitimate beneficiaries of this exercise have been the orthodox Islamic political forces.
It is to be granted that any political force has a right to define the future of the country as suits its political ideology. In this respect, the religious political ideologues are quite in their right to claim that Ideology of Pakistan should be the basis of all the policies of the country. What is completely unjustified, however, is to present the ideology as a historical truth, distorting history for a political purpose, and ultimately leaving an impression with the reader that seeking the truth in historical events is not important.
The problem with the term Ideology of Pakistan is not just that it is not based in history. Emphasizing it tells non-Muslims that they do not have a place in Pakistan.
Associated with the insistence on the Ideology of Pakistan has been the essential component of hate against India and the Hindus.
For the upholders of the Ideology of Pakistan, the existence of Pakistan is defined only in relation to Hindus, and hence the Hindus have to be painted as black as possible. The pre-Ideology textbooks did not contain animosity toward Hindus even though Pakistan was born of the bloody riots of the partition. The early textbooks, mostly written after the partition, were free of the pathological hate that we see in textbooks today. For example, the early history books contained chapters on not only the oldest civilizations of Moen jo Daro, Harappa, Taxila, etc., but also the early Hindu mythologies of Ramayana and Mahabharata, and extensively covered, often with admiration, the great Hindu kingdoms of the Mauryas and the Guptas. The books indeed showed biases when discussing the more recent history of the politics of independence, but still one found textbooks with chapters on M.K. Gandhi, using words of respect and admiration for him.
Even in the somewhat biased history of politics of independence, the creation of Pakistan was reasoned on the intransigence of the All-India Congress and its leadership rather than on "Hindu machinations."
Some books also clearly mentioned that the most prominent Islamic religious leaders were all bitterly opposed to the creation of Pakistan.
Such was the enlightened teaching of history for the first 25 years of Pakistan even though two wars were fought against India in this period. The print and electronic media often indulged in anti-Hindu propaganda, but educational material was by and large free of hate against Hindus.
Then came the time of replacing Indo-Pakistan history and geography with Pakistan studies, and defining Pakistan as an Islamic state. The history of Pakistan became equivalent to the history of Muslims in the subcontinent, starting with the Arab conquest of Sindh and swiftly jumping to the Muslim conquerors from Central Asia.
Simultaneously, a trend started in the 1970s of stressing the Ideology of Pakistan. This involved creating an ideological straitjacket in which the history of Pakistan, especially that of the Pakistan movement, was to be rewritten with utter disregard for truth. Pakistan was told to have been created to establish a truly Islamic state in accordance with the tenets of Qur'an and Sunnah. The Ulema
who had bitterly opposed the creation of Pakistan were turned into heroes of the Pakistan movement. The Quaid-i-Azam was turned into a pious practicing Muslim. And Hindus were hated and denigrated. A few examples of the expression of this hate in some recent curriculum documents and textbooks are given below.
Curriculum documents cite the following as learning objectives:
- [The child should be able to] understand the Hindu and Muslim differences and the resultant need for Pakistan
- Develop understanding of the Hindu-Muslim Differences and need for Pakistan
- Hindu-Muslim Differences in Culture...
India's evil designs against Pakistan (the three wars with India)
- Identify the events in relation to Hindu-Muslim differences, which laid the foundations for Pakistan.
The textbooks then respond in the following way to the above curriculum instructions
Urging the Students to Take the Path of Jehad and Shahadat
- Hindu has always been an enemy of Islam.
- The religion of the Hindus did not teach them good things--Hindus did not respect women...
- Hindus worship in temples which are very narrow and dark places, where they worship idols. Only one person can enter the temple at a time. In our mosques, on the other hand, all Muslims can say their prayers together.
- The social evils of the Hindus.
- The Hindus lived in small and dark houses. Child marriage was common in those days. Women were assigned a low position in society. In case the husband of a woman died, she was burnt alive with his dead body. This was called "sati."... The killing of shudras was not punished, but the murder of a Brahman was a serious crime. ... However, the people of low caste were not allowed to learn this language. The caste system had made their life miserable.
- Muslim children of India wear shalwar kameez or shirt and pajama and Hindu children wear Dhoti also.
- Hindus thought that there was no country other than India, nor any people other than the Indians, nor did anyone else possess any knowledge. [This sentence, meant to denigrate Hindus, describes the response of the local people to Al Beruni's visit to India. It is obviously a concocted lie as Alexander the Greek had come to this land many centuries earlier, that the rule of the Mauryas and Guptas stretched to the lands from where Al Beruni had come, that Arabs had conquered Sindh before Al Beruni's visit, the Arab conquest was also aimed against the Ismailis, who had settled in the area around Multan even earlier, and Arabic mathematics was deeply influenced by the Indian mathematics, etc.]
- Hindu pundits were jealous of Al Beruni. Since they could not compete against Al Beruni in knowledge, they started calling him a magician.
- [A story "The Enemy Pilot," about a captured Indian pilot, presumably of Hindu faith] He had only been taught never to have pity on Muslims, to always bother the neighboring Muslims, to weaken them to the extent that they forget about freedom, and that it is better to finish off the enemy. He remembered that the Hindus tried to please their Devi Kali by slaughtering innocent people of other faiths at her feet; that they regarded everybody else as untouchables. He knew that his country India had attacked Pakistan in the dead of the night to bleed Pakistani Muslims and to dominate the entire Subcontinent.
- The Hindus who have always been opportunists cooperated with the English.
- The Hindus praised the British rule and its blessings in their speeches
- The Hindus had the upper hand in the Congress and they established good relations with the British. This party tried its best to safeguard the interests of the Hindus. Gradually it became purely a Hindu organization. Most of the Hindu leaders of the Congress were not prepared to tolerate the presence of the Muslims in the sub-continent. They demanded that the Muslims should either embrace Hinduism or leave the country.
- The party was so close to the Government that it would not let the Government do any work as would be of benefit to the Muslims. The partition of Bengal can be quoted as an example.
- ...but Hindus very cunningly succeeded in making the British believe that the Muslims were solely responsible for the  rebellion.
- In December 1885, an Englishman Mr. Humes ... formed a political party named Indian National Congress, the purpose of which was to politically organize Hindus.
- Therefore in order to appease the Hindus and the Congress, the British announced political reforms. Muslims were not eligible to vote. Hindus voter never voted for a Muslim, therefore, ... [A sheer distortion, and a blatant lie that the Muslims were ineligible to vote.]
- The height of Hindu-Muslim amity was seen during the Khilafat Movement, but as soon as the movement was over, the anti-Muslim feelings among Hindus resurfaced.
- Nehru report exposed the Hindu mentality.
- The Quaid saw through the machinations of the Hindus.
- Hindus declared the Congress rule as the Hindu rule, and started to unleash terror on Muslims.
- At the behest of the government [during the Congress rule], Hindu "goondas"
started killing Muslims and burning their property.
- The Hindus always desired to crush the Muslims as a nation. Several attempts were made by the Hindus to erase the Muslim culture and civilisation. Hindi-Urdu controversy, shudhi and sanghtan movements are the most glaring examples of the ignoble Hindu mentality.
- The British, with the assistance of the Hindus, adopted a cruel policy of mass exodus against the Muslims to erase them as a nation.
- The British adopted a policy of large-scale massacre (mass extermination) against the Muslims.
- The Muslim population of the Muslim minority provinces faced atrocities of the Hindu majority.
- [The Muslims] were not allowed to profess their religion freely.
- Hindu nationalism was being imposed upon Muslims and their culture.
- All-India Congress turned into a pure Hindu organization.
- While the Muslims provided all type of help to those wishing to leave Pakistan, the people of India committed cruelties against the Muslims (refugees). They would attack the buses, trucks, and trains carrying the Muslim refugees and they were murdered and looted.
- After the Cripps Missions, Congress raised the "Quit India" slogan, which meant the British should leave, handing over the rule to Hindus.
- After 1965 war India conspired with the Hindus of Bengal and succeeded in spreading hate among the Bengalis about West Pakistan and finally attacked on East Pakistan in December 71, thus causing the breakup of East and West Pakistan.
The themes of Jehad and Shahadat clearly distinguish the pre- and post-1979 educational contents. There was no mention of these in the pre-Islamization curriculums and textbooks, and the post-1979 curriculums and textbooks openly eulogize Jehad and Shahadat and urge students to become mujahids and martyrs. Take the following examples.
Narrowing the Options
- Learning Outcome: Recognize the importance of Jehad in every sphere of life
- Learning outcome: Must be aware of the blessings of Jehad
- Must be aware of the blessings of Jehad, and must create yearning for Jehad in his heart
- Concept: Jehad; Affective objective: Aspiration for Jehad
- Love and aspiration for Jehad, Tableegh (Prosyletization), Jehad, Shahadat (martyrdom), sacrifice, ghazi (the victor in holy wars), shaheed (martyr)...
- Simple stories to urge for Jehad
- Activity 4: To make speeches on Jehad and Shahadat
- To make speeches on Jehad
- Evaluation: To judge their spirit while making speeches on Jehad, Muslim History and Culture
- Concepts: Jehad, Amar bil Maroof and Nahi Anil Munkar
- Importance of Jehad
- Affective objective: Concepts of Ideology of Pakistan, Muslim Ummah and Jehad
- Stories: eight lessons; folk tales (mythical, moral, Islamic, travel and adventure, Jehad)
It is interesting to note that in the curriculum guidelines for textbooks, a general objective--
to create awareness and love for Islamic faith, and to bring up children according to Islamic values--gives rise to particular objective
s, that completely narrow the options textbook writers may have to write pedagogically sound textbooks. The following excerpts prove the point.
Mainstream education in Pakistan is thus parochial, exclusionary, hate mongering, and devoid of imparting any values of universalism, humanism, tolerance, objectivity and critical learning. It alienates Pakistan's non-Muslims by denying them any stakes in the nation that they are part of. It makes Muslim students intolerant of the people of other faiths and nationality by blatantly teaching hatred. It promotes Islamic militancy.
|Class I: Particular objectives and recommendations for textbook contents|
|Particular objective||Concept/skill||Subject matter|
|To tell that Allah is one. He is the Creator, Master, and the Provider.||Unity, Creator, Master, and Provider||Small poems describing Allah as the Creator and the Master, and of the creation of the universe. He should be thanked, and He should be approached for help. Children should be asked to sing this poem. An easy lesson in prose along these lines should be also written.|
|To tell the prophethood of the Holy Prophet (pbuh)||The prophethood||The holy name of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), His prophethood, and His sayings|
|To familiarize with the Last Book of Allah||Qur'an||Qur'an as the last book from Allah. Familiarity with Arabic alphabet (a page should be added in the already prepared textbooks)|
|To tell about Prayers (Namaz) and their requirements||The prayers||The five prayers, ablution, the prayer calls, the caller (moezzin), the prayer leader (pesh imam), the prayer row (saff), mosque, cleanliness|
|To make them remember religious phrases by heart||Takbeer, Ta'uz, Tasmiah, Kalmah Tayyaba, and Durud Sharif||Takbeer, Ta'uz, Tasmiah, Kalmah Tayyaba, and Durud Sharif (pbuh) should be asked for oral rendition|
|To tell them about Islamic brotherhood||Islamic brotherhood||All Muslims are brothers|
|To tell them of the manners of speech||Manners of speech||Assalam o' Alaikum, WaAlaikum Asslam, (thank you, yes please, no thank you)|
|Class II: Particular objectives, concepts, and skills, and recommended textbook subject matter|
|Particular objective||Concept/skill||Subject matter|
|To create indebtedness to the blessings of Allah, and to thank Him||Blessings of AllahPrayer||A poem that talks of the greatness of Allah and of His blessings, and inducing the reader to thank Him|
|To know about the childhood, family, and lineage of the Holy Prophet (pbuh)||Tribe and lineage, good behavior||A short lesson about the family and lineage (names of parents and grandparents only) of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) with a story of his childhood showing his good behavior|
|To know about ablution||Ablution||Names of the five prayers, their timings, keeping time, cleanliness, and togetherness (the material on ablution and prayers should be given in one place). The concept of fasting and the month of Ramadan.|
|To know about prayers and fasting||Prayers, fasting|
|To memorize religious phrases by heart||Learning by heart Takbeer, Ta'uz, Tasmiah, Kalima Tayyaba, kalima Shahadat, and Durud Sharif, with translation||In the teachers' guide, instructions should be given to know Takbeer, Ta'uz, Tasmiah, Kalima Tayyaba, kalima Shahadat, and Durud Sharif by heart. Two lessons on reading Arabic should be added in continuation of the material in class I.|
|To be familiar with religious events||Eid-ul-Fitr||Eid, Eid-ul-Fitr (with reference to fasting and Ramadan)|
|To know Islamic manners||Eating manners, Manners of speaking||A lesson on eating manners. The exercises should contain words and sentences related to the religious and moral aspects of life. For example, sir, thank you, please, good bye, etc.|
|To introduce important Islamic personalities||Truthfulness, bravery, honesty||Such stories about the personalities of Islam that talk of truthfulness, bravery, and honesty|
Pakistan has been a focus of global attention for being a hub of Islamic militancy. It is a sanctuary of international terrorists from all nooks and corners of the Islamic world--from Algeria in the west to Indonesia in the east-and a breeding ground for orthodox Islamic movements including the medieval minded Taliban of Afghanistan. Internally, it has been torn asunder by a bloody sectarian strife where throwing bombs in places of worship and spraying bullets at prayer congregations are commonplace. Contrary to the belief that the orthodoxy and militancy emanates from the religious seminaries called Madrasas, this essay shows that the mainstream educational system is not contributing any less in this direction. What becomes clear after examining the state provided learning material is that the country cannot get out of the present mire unless it revamps its educational system and makes an about turn in the philosophy of education it has been espousing over the last two decades.
Interestingly, the learning material of Pakistan was largely free of these problems before 1980. This year coincides with the US program of enlisting the support of orthodox Islamist forces against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. The program not only enlisted the religious warlords of Afghanistan and hated 'terrorists'
of today like Osama bin Laden, but also promoted madrasas in Pakistan. The Central Intelligence Agency of the United States chartered The Center for Afghan Studies of the University of Nebraska at Omaha at producing new school textbooks for Afghan refugee children. The books contained a high dose of hate material and militancy. This was exposed in a research thesis prepared at the New School University of New York two years ago. The seeds of Islamic militancy in this region were clearly sown by the US. It is ironic that the true harvest was ready in about two decades.
Nevertheless, it is important to also understand that the region's soil was also very fertile and receptive to such machinations. Islamic orthodoxy has been slowly gaining wider acceptability in the society. The state of Pakistan which was overly obsessed with security concerns from India found in the orthodoxy a convenient ally to be used in its quest for wresting Kashmir out of India. The orthodoxy received not only legitimacy but also the state patronage that helped it consolidate its views through the mainstream education system. This helps us understand why the educational system is what it is.
Now that Pakistan has reaped a bitter harvest of sectarianism and Islamic militancy, and the world the harvest of terrorism, both must mend their ways. It appears that they are moving in this direction. And both must realize that the starting point in this quest has to be the learning material of the mainstream education.
An Urdu word for Islamic Studies
Curriculum Document, Primary Education, Classes K-V, 1995, p. 41.
The above statement exists in all the curriculum documents of March 2002.
The National Early Childhood Education Curriculum (NECEC) was developed in early 2002 by the Curriculum Wing of the Government of Pakistan following instructions from the Education Sector Reform Action Plan, released on 1 January 2002. Early childhood education is the new name for what used to be called the Kachi Class I, the first year of education, equivalent of kindergarten.
NECEC, Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan, March 2002, p. 4.
Curriculum Document, Primary Education, Classes K-V, National Bureau of Curriculum and Textbooks, Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan, 1995, p. 48.
Ibid., p. 41.
This means religion.
Pbuh is an acronym for "peace be upon him." Orthodox Muslims insist that a Muslim must say these prayer words each time Mohammad's name is uttered, failing which a Muslim can be prosecuted for blasphemy. The use of pbuh is an accepted practice.
Integrated Curriculum, Classes I-III, National Bureau of Curriculum and Textbooks, Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, March 2002, p. 7.
Urdu Curriculum (first and second language) for Classes VI-VIII, National Bureau of Curriculum and Textbooks, Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, 1986, p. 14.
National Curriculum English (Compulsory) for Classes XI-XII, March 2002, p. 7.
National Curriculum Civics for Classes XI-XII, Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Education, Curriculum Wing, Islamabad, March 2002, p. 10.
Curriculum Document, Primary Education, Classes K-V, 1995, p. 52.
Meri Kitab, for Class II, Punjab Textbook Board, Lahore, October 2001, p. 36.
English Class VI, Punjab Textbook Board, Lahore, March 2002, pp. 35-37.
Meri Kitab, for Class II, Punjab Textbook Board, Lahore, October 2001, p. 104.
NECEC, pp. 6 and 19.
Ramadhan is a month in the Islamic lunar calendar during which Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. Eidain are religious festivals.
Curriculum Document, Primary Education, Classes K-V, 1995, pp. 21, 27, 36, 42, etc.
Ibid., p. 48.
Ibid., p. 52.
Curriculum Document, Primary Education, Classes K-V, 1995, p. 48.
Muezzin calls the faithful to the five prayers a day, and Imam leads the prayers
Curriculum Document, Primary Education, Classes K-V, 1995, p. 48.
Ibid., p. 48.
Ibid., pp. 54-56.
Urdu for Class I: Islamabad and the Federal territories, Federal Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad.
Urdu for Class II: Islamabad and the Federal territories, Federal Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad.
Urdu for Class II, Punjab Textbook Board, Lahore, March 2001.
Urdu for Class III, Punjab Textbook Board, Lahore, March 2002. Note that 7 of the 19 lessons teach learning to read the Qur'an. Selling books with five subjects in one volume forces students of all religions to buy Qur'ani Qaeda (The first book to teach reading Qur'an), which is not a part of the prescribed curriculum.
Urdu for Class IV, Punjab Textbook Board, Lahore, March 2002.
Urdu for Class V, Punjab Textbook Board, Lahore, March 2002.
Urdu for Class VI, Punjab Textbook Board, Lahore, March 2002.
Urdu for Class VII, Punjab Textbook Board, Lahore, March 2002.
Urdu for Class VIII, Punjab Textbook Board, Lahore, March 2002.
Urdu for Classes IX-X, Punjab Textbook Board, Lahore, March 2002.
Social Studies Class III for Rawalpindi District, Punjab Textbook Board.
Social Studies Class III for Karachi, Sindh Textbook Board.
Social Studies Class IV, Punjab Textbook Board, Lahore.
Ra is a word of respect failing to say which can invite a charge of blasphemy. This is a verbatim reproduction of the original text.
Social Studies Class V, Punjab Textbook Board, Lahore, March 2002.
Urdu Curriculum (first and second language) for Classes VI-VIII, National Bureau of Curriculum and Textbooks, Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, 1986, p. 13.
National Curriculum English (Compulsory) for Classes XI-XII, March 2002.
This is a national title for Mohammad Ali Jinnah which means the Great Leader.
Pakistan Studies Curriculum for Classes XI-XII, National Curriculum Committee, National Bureau of Curriculum and Textbooks, Islamabad, 1986, p. 3.
Curriculum Document, Primary Education, Classes K-V, 1995, p. 41.
Urdu Curriculum (first language) for Classes IV and V, National Bureau of Curriculum and Textbooks, Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, March 2002, p. 3.
National Curriculum CIVICS for Classes IX-X, Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Education, Curriculum Wing, Islamabad, March 2002, p. 4.
National Curriculum CIVICS for Classes XI-XII, Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Education, Curriculum Wing, Islamabad, March 2002, p. 3.
Curriculum Document, Primary Education, Classes K-V, 1995, p. 140.
Urdu Curriculum (first and second language) for Classes VI-VIII, National Bureau of Curriculum and Textbooks, Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, 1986, p. 8.
Curriculum Document, Primary Education, Classes K-V, 1995, p. 58.
National Curriculum, Social Studies for Classes I-V, Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Education (Curriculum Wing) Islamabad, March 2002, p. 6.
Urdu Curriculum (first language) for Classes IV and V, National Bureau of Curriculum and Textbooks, Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, March 2002, p. 25.
Curriculum Document, Primary Education, Classes K-V, 1995, p. 44.
Ibid., p. 44.
Ibid., p. 58.
Ibid., p. 61.
National Curriculum CIVICS for Classes IX-X, Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Education, Curriculum Wing, Islamabad, March 2002, p. 14.
National Curriculum, Social Studies for Classes I-V, Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Education (Curriculum Wing) Islamabad, March 2002, p. 29.
Ibid., p. 43.
Social Studies Curriculum for Classes VI-VIII, National Curriculum Committee, National Bureau of Curriculum and Textbooks, Islamabad, 1984, p. 7.
Urdu Curriculum (first and second language) for Classes VI-VIII, National Bureau of Curriculum and Textbooks, Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, 1986, p. 41.
Ibid., p. 29.
Urdu Curriculum (compulsory, optional, and easy course), Classes IX and X, National Bureau of Curriculum and Textbooks, Ministry of Education, Islamabad, 1988, p. 4.
English Curriculum for Classes IX-X, National Curriculum Committee, Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Education, Islamabad, 1986, p. 7.
National Curriculum English (compulsory) for Classes XI-XII, March 2002, p. 9.
National Curriculum CIVICS for Classes IX-X, Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Education, Curriculum Wing, Islamabad, March 2002, p. 15.
Ibid., p. 20.
An Arabic word for religious scholars
Curriculum Document, Primary Education, Classes K-V, Integrated and Subject Based, National Bureau of Curriculum and Textbooks, Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, 1995, p. 151.
National Curriculum, Social Studies for Classes I-V, Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Education (Curriculum Wing) Islamabad, March 2002, p. 35.
Ibid., p. 35.
Ibid., p. 35.
Urdu Class V, Punjab Textbook Board, Lahore, March 2002, p. 108.
Muasherati Ulum for Class IV, Punjab Textbook Board, Lahore, 1995, p. 81.
Muasherati Ulum for Class V, Punjab Textbook Board, Lahore, 1996, p. 109.
Social Studies Class VI, Punjab Textbook Board, Lahore, March 2002, p. 59.
The lowest of the four castes in Hindu socirty
Ibid., p. 67.
Ibid., p. 79.
Social Studies Class VIII, Punjab Textbook Board, Lahore, March 2002, p. 82.
Ibid., p. 82.
Urdu Class VI, Punjab Textbook Board, Lahore, March 2002, p. 221.
Social Studies Class VI, Punjab Textbook Board, Lahore, March 2002, p, 141,
Ibid., p. 143.
Social Studies Class VIII, Punjab Textbook Board, Lahore, March 2002, p. 90.
Ibid., p. 94.
Ibid., pp. 94-95.
Ibid., p. 100.
Ibid., p. 102.
Social Studies Class VII, Punjab Textbook Board, Lahore, p. 51.
Social Studies, Class VIII, Punjab Textbook Board, Lahore, March 2002, p. 104.
Ibid., pp. 104-105.
Shudhi and Sanghatan were movements in the first half of the twentieth century for conversion to and militarization of Hindus respectively.
M. Ikram Rabbani and Monawar Ali Sayyid, An Introduction to Pakistan Studies
, The Caravan Book House, Lahore, 1995, p. 12.
Ref 3, p. 85.
Social Studies, Class VIII, Punjab Textbook Board, Lahore, March 2002, p. 110.
Social Studies (Urdu) Class V, Punjab Textbook Board, Lahore, p. 112.
National Curriculum, Social Studies for Classes I-V, Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Education (Curriculum Wing) Islamabad, March 2002, p. 34.
Urdu Curriculum (compulsory, optional, and easy course), Classes IX and X, National Bureau of Curriculum and Textbooks, Ministry of Education, Islamabad, 1988, p. 8.
Urdu Curriculum (first and second language) for Classes VI-VIII, National Bureau of Curriculum and Textbooks, Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, 1986, p. 13.
Social Studies Curriculum for Classes VI-VIII National Curriculum Committee, National Bureau of Curriculum and Textbooks, Islamabad, Year 1984, p. 16.
Ibid., p. 21.
Curriculum Document, Primary Education, Classes K-V, 1995, p. 56.
Ibid., p. 154.
National Curriculum, Social Studies for Classes I-V, Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Education (Curriculum Wing) Islamabad, March 2002, p. 33.
Ibid., p. 35.
Ibid., p. 34.
Ibid., p. 34.
Ibid., p. 35.
Urdu Curriculum (first language) for Classes IV and V, National Bureau of Curriculum and Textbooks, Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, March 2002, p. 18.
Integrated Curriculum, Classes I-III, National Bureau of Curriculum and Textbooks, Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad, March 2002.
This is chapter 2 of The Subtle Subversion--The State of Curricula and Textbooks in Pakistan
(Islamabad: Sustainable Development Policy Institute, 2003). A report of the Civil Society Initiative in Curricula and Textbooks Reform Project. Available online: www.sdpi.org.