Professor Anjum Paul briefs about Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association (PMTA) in an interview with Pakistan Christian Post
Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association (PMTA) was established on August 28, 2005 by Professor Anjum James Paul. PMTA is constantly struggling with a dream to make Pakistan a role model state where people of religious minorities will one day live as a part of Pakistani nation and where they will not be judged by their faiths but by the content of equality. This was said by Professor Anjum James Paul while interviewing to Pakistan Christian Post. He further said that PMTA feels pleasure to share its role and achievements and expects more positive changes in the near future. Though it is a way to Calvary but we know that way to Calvary is a way to victory. The achievements are the results of our reservations and recommendations that have been brought to the notice of the esteemed offices of the Government of Pakistan through correspondence, raising voice through electronic and print media, the support of minorities politicians ,religious leaders of the minorities and the civil society. He continued saying, ‘though much has to be achieved yet but we are hopeful that we shall surely be able to achieve our destination someday’. Professor Anjum James Paul continued saying, “We shall carry on our unending efforts to abolish all sorts of discrimination from the Pakistani educational system and to make this land according to the vision of its founder Quaid-i- Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah that he presented in the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947.” In another question he expressed 20 achievements of Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association which are;
1. Educationists and religious scholars from minorities have been invited to develop the curriculum in the subject of Ethics. It is a state of sorry that they were not so much expert in the curriculum development and the religion. I would like to quote here only one example that due to their negligence the sacrifice of the eldest son of Abraham has been included in the curriculum of Ethics for grade 3. Unluckily they were invited without the consent of PMTA.
2. Educationists are now part of the textbook developing. In the province of Punjab where more than 60 per cent population resides, they are being invited as the members of the Provincial Review Committees, Textbook Review Committees and the Technical Evaluation Committees not only in the subject of Ethics but the social sciences as well. Professor Anjum James Paul, Chairman PMTA has been the Convener of the Subject Wise Textbook Evaluation Committee in the subject of Social Science while Professor Daniel Yousaf has been one of the authors of the Physics Practical Notebook for grade 9 published by the Punjab Textbook Board Lahore
3. Topics on human rights, peace, tolerance, co-existence, forgiveness, patience, service to humanity have been included in the upcoming textbooks.
4. The role of religious minorities in the creation and construction of Pakistan has been included in the forthcoming textbooks.
5. For the first time in the history of Pakistan curriculum in the subject of Ethics (Compulsory) has been developed for the students of religious minorities of Pakistan. We strongly condemn the subject of Ethics as there is discrimination with the students of minorities because this is the violation of their fundamental rights but something is better than nothing. Now the students of minorities will somehow learn something about their religion/religions instead of knowing nothing. The textbooks are now under the process and some are already available in the market.
6. Islamyat is compulsory subject for the Muslim student only which was compulsory for all the students before but was optional from class X –XII only for the students of minorities.
7. The subject of Arabic is no more a compulsory subject but an optional one. This was a compulsory subject for all the students from class I-VIII for the students belonging to all religions.
8. Students of religious minorities are appearing in the subject of Ethics class since 2008.
9. Academic staff from the religious minorities has been somehow invited to set the paper of Civics (for non-Muslims). Prof. Anjum James Paul has set the paper of Civics (for non-Muslims) for the Intermediate Part I for the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Faisalabad in the year 2007-09
10. The Government of the Punjab had to reverse her order and the Non-Muslim Educators were exempted of compulsory training of Qirat (recitation) of Holy Quran on August 12, 2009.
11. Mr. Muhammad Latif Khosa, the Governor of Punjab, being the chancellor of the universities of Punjab directed all the Vice Chancellors of the Public Sector Universities to provide the facility of drinking water in the universities examinations centres during the month of Ramadan on the demand of the PMTA on August 4, 2012.
12. According to the National Educational Policy 2009, provisions shall be made for teaching of the subject of Ethics/ Moral Education in lieu of Islamiyat to non-Muslim children and subject specific teachers shall be appointed according to the requirements.
13. The word “Masih”, “Masihi” or “Masihyiat” is being used now in most of the electronic and print media instead of “Esa”, “Esai” or “Esayiat” for Jesus Christ, Christian/s or Christianity.
14. On the request of PMTA, Vice Chancellor of Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad relaxed a one day off to the Christian students in the MA/ M.Ed workshop throughout Pakistan on the Easter Day on April, 12, 2009.
15. There are pictures of the church, temple and Gurdowara besides mosques and related information in the subject of General Knowledge grade I which is really a great change.
16. First it was written that Pakistan is the land of Muslims but now it is written that Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and Parsees live in Pakistan in the textbook of General Knowledge grade I which is really another great change
17. Biased message of the President of Pakistan General (R) Pervez Musharraf has been totally removed from all the textbooks in which he had invited the attention of only Muslim students to acquire knowledge as he said, “The progress and development of a country depends on the quality of education of its people. It is a historical fact that the Muslims ruled the world for hundred of years on the basis of the knowledge acquired by their intellectuals, philosophers and scientists .The books written by them were of such a high standard that they served as reference books in the western universities for centuries. As long as the Muslims acted upon the Hadith, "to acquire knowledge is the duty of each Muslim male and female.” they ruled the world. Reference English Step 5, Code No. XLIV/AD, Edition Ist, Impression 19th.This message was on each and every textbook.
18. Biased part of the appeal of the Chairman Punjab Textbook Board, Lahore has been deleted “Punjab Textbook Board is your own organization and has the mandate of providing high quality but less expensive books, with the approval of Federal Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan in accordance with national curricula. These books project Islamic values, defend ideological boundaries of the country and help acquaintance with other fields of life.” Reference. English Step 5, Code No. XLIV/AD, Edition Ist, Impression 19th. This appeal is published on each and every book published by the Textbook Board, Lahore.
19. A White Paper on Education in Pakistan was published in September 2007. This is a document to debate religious bias, general standard of textbooks and education policies in Pakistan. There is research on 51 textbooks in the subjects of Civics, English, Ethics, Islamic Studies, Pakistan Studies, Social Studies and Urdu from grade I-XII.
20. A Review on Textbooks and National Curriculum Recommended by the Ministry of Education was published in June 2010.