Sunday, April 14, 2013

Role of minorities included in the Pakistani textbooks by the efforts of PMTA

Pakistan Christian Post
Faisalabad: April 13, 2013. (PCP) Professor Anjum James Paul, Chairman Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association (PMTA) in a press conference has stated that there is improvement in the Pakistani textbooks as the authorities are now playing their responsible role for a moderate Pakistan so that Pakistani people may live in a peaceful coexistence regardless of religion, creed, colour and caste. PMTA has been demanding that the role of minorities in the creation and construction of Pakistan must be included in the textbooks so that culture of social and interfaith harmony be promoted. Three pages have been included in the Pakistan Studies textbook for grade 10 on the role of minorities in Pakistan. Pakistani national heroes from the Christian, Hindu, Sikh and other minority communities are now part of the textbook who have played their role in the judiciary, education, defence, health and sports etc. A part of the speech of the founder of Pakistan that he delivered in the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947 has also been included in the same textbook. The Quaid-e- Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in his speech said, “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State” Role of minorities in the creation of Pakistan is being included in the forthcoming textbooks. Topics on human rights, peace, tolerance, co-existence, forgiveness, patience and service to humanity have been included in the textbooks and biases have been reduced somehow.
There are pictures of the church, temple and Gurdowara besides mosques and related information in the subject of General Knowledge grade I. In the early textbooks 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. This has also been included in the same book of General Knowledge grade 1. The word “Masih”, “Masihi” or “Masihyiat” is being used now in the textbooks and in the electronic and print media instead of “Esa”, “Esai” or “Esayiat” for Jesus Christ, Christian/s or Christianity. Academic staff from the r minorities has been somehow invited to set the paper/s for the Board of Intermediate & Secondary Education.
Professor Anjum James Paul went on saying that the subject of Arabic is optional now on our demand. Instead of Islamic Studies, the subject of Ethics has been introduced for the minorities’ students. Efforts are being made that there must be subject of religion instead of Ethics because there is violation of Article 22 of the constitution of Pakistan, Article 26 (3) of the United Nation Declaration of Human Rights, Article 18, Article 26 and Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 2 and Article 14 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Experts and educationists from the minorities are playing their role as authors, as members of the Provincial Review Committee, as members of Textbook Review Committee and as members and conveners of the Subject Wise Technical Evaluation Committee.
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. 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.
On the request of PMTA, Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad relaxed a one day off to the Christian students in the MA/ M.Ed workshop on the Easter Day on April, 12, 2009 and March 31, 2013.
PMTA Chairman said that ‘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. This has been prepared by PMTA Chairman Professor Anjum James Paul. He again published ‘A Review on Textbooks and National Curriculum Recommended by the Ministry of Education in 2010’.
In the end Professor Anjum James Paul said that there is always dawn after a dark night. We have to make more efforts for the human rights of the oppressed and suppressed minorities of Pakistan. There is still discrimination with the students of minorities in many ways. But we must all be united to play our best role for a peaceful world. We have to start human dignity and human rights from our families and country. We can only raise our voice for the human dignity and human rights beyond the boundaries of Pakistan when we have respect of human beings and human rights in our homeland Pakistan.
Note: Professor Anjum James Paul is Head of the Political Science Department in a Public Sector Postgraduate College in Pakistan. He has been raising voice for the human rights for the last two decades. He established Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association in 2005 to eliminate all forms of discrimination from the education system and educational institutions of Pakistan. There have been so many achievements from the platform of PMTA In a short period. Being an educationist he has strong relations with the policy makers. He is the member of the Textbook Review Committee of the Punjab Textbook Board and convener of the Subject Wise Technical Evaluation Committee of the Punjab Curriculum Authority.