Islamabad : The federal education ministry has claimed that vested interests have begun a concerted campaign to discredit the government's effort to develop a single national curriculum (SNC) for countrywide schools.
In a statement issued here, the ministry said the Ulema Board had decreed that all human figures in Biology textbooks of the SNC be covered with appropriate clothes to protect their modesty.
According to it, the SNC has so far been approved only up to grade V. Biology is a subject that is taught beginning from Grade IX and no textbooks for Biology have so far been finalised.
“The federal government’s approval process for Science textbooks does not involve any consultation with the Muttahida Ulema Board and so any claim that the Board has prohibited the inclusion of any diagrams or educational material from the Biology textbooks is factually inaccurate," it said.
The ministry said Science textbooks were being developed in close consultation with renowned local and international experts and won't be approved for publishing until it was determined that they meet the required global benchmarks.
It, however, said the Punjab Assembly had approved a law whereby an Ulema Board approved all Islamic content in the curriculum.
"The Punjab government has informed us that no change was made to the Biology textbooks by that board," it said.
The ministry denied that qaris from madrassahs would be appointed to all schools, public and private, to teach the Holy Quran.
"No such order has been made by the government at any level. The teaching of Qirat to Muslim students is part of the Islamiyat curriculum and is mandatory to foster their religious learning. This instruction can be provided by the existing Islamiat or Religious Studies teachers or the school can hire anyone they deem fit. This does not preclude anyone including graduates of madrassahs but the decision of who to hire is of the individual school whether public or private and not of the Federal Government."
The ministry also rejected the claim that the SNC discriminates against minorities.
"The Single National Curriculum is a historic initiative introduced to eliminate Pakistan’s long-standing class-based education system and create equal educational standards for all the students of Pakistan, regardless of race, class, gender, and any other arbitrary marker. It is being developed with expert input from all segments of society and is being designed in line with the pedagogical needs of the 21st century," it said.
The ministry said it strived to ensure that the curriculum is not only reflective of all Pakistanis but also promotes tolerance, peace and brotherhood among all communities in the country.