Prof Anjum James Paul
Examinations for Class V are commencing on Feb 3, but students of religious minorities have not been provided the syllabus of Ethics yet. According to the notification of the Schools Education Department, the government of Punjab, No. SO(A II)8-5/2004(P), dated July 7, 2008, there are the subjects of Urdu, English, Mathematics, Islamic Studies, Social Studies and Science but not the subject of Ethics in the educational calendar, which is a compulsory subject according to the recommended Education Policy 2006 for the students of religious minorities. There is no option for the subject of Islamic Studies but it seems that the students of minorities are deliberately kept in the dark as most of them are examined for the subject of Islamic Studies instead of Ethics.
The Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association (PMTA) wrote a letter to the chief minister of Punjab on Oct 30, 2008 on the subject, ‘Issuance of syllabus in the subject of Ethics for 5th and 8th classes.” Copies of the letter were mailed to the minister of education, minister of human rights and minorities affairs and the secretary of education, government of Punjab. The PMTA received letters from the ministry of human rights and minorities affairs, ministry of education, government of Punjab, Punjab Textbook Board, Lahore, Punjab Examination Commission and Punjab Education Commission but they have all failed to provide the syllabus according to the above-mentioned educational calendar 2008-09.
There are 74 Christian students in Class V who will appear for the subject of Ethics only in the district of Faisalabad but the textbook will be available after three or four years. One of the students, Takveen Anjum, wrote a letter to the Punjab education secretary on the subject, ‘Unavailability of the syllabus and book of Ethics’, on Jan 9. Copies of the same letter were mailed to the Punjab education minister, as well as to the chief minister, but there has been no reply from these quarters yet. I have asked Takveen Anjum to appear in all the papers except Ethics.