Pakistan’s Christian community calls for an unbiased curriculum. Citing Article 22 of the Constitution of Pakistan, they urged for a safer environment for minorities’ students at the educational institutions. The issue was highlighted during a conference organized jointly by the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of the Catholic Bishops of Pakistan and the Center for Social Justice (CSJ).
While remarking about the biasness of the curriculum currently taught in the schools and colleges, Mr. Peter Jacob – Director of the Center for Social Justice (CSJ), said that, “We want a curriculum that is in line with international standards for our country, which focuses on moral and ethical values. The government should not incorporate religious content in compulsory subjects such as Urdu and English. Article 22 of the Constitution of Pakistan states that ‘No person attending any educational institution shall be required to receive religious instruction, or take part in any religious ceremony, or attend religious worship, if such instruction, ceremony or worship relates to a religion other than his own.”
Further continuing, he urged that Article 22 should be respected and implemented. “We ask for this article to be respected as it promises protection for religious minorities in the learning environment.” He urged the authorities to establish a special commission that should be assigned with the task of chalking out necessary amendments and revisions to the curriculum. “We ask that a Commission on education reform be created, which examines previous educational policies. No one has ever analyzed the content of our school books and the side effects that occur in our society for years.”
“It is necessary to strengthen inclusiveness in education – observes the leader – especially with respect to religious minorities and marginalized groups. Teaching Islamic content in compulsory subjects is unfair as even students of religious minorities are thus forced to study and take exams in these subjects.”
He appreciated government of Sindh for amending the school curriculum, on the basis of the vast ethnic and religious diversity existing in the province. The National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP), is analyzing the Single National Curriculum which was adopted in the schools. The Commission seeks to prepare relevant suggestions and recommendations in this regard.
On this occasion, Tauseef Ahmed Khan, member of Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission, also talked about this issue noting, “Our Curriculum includes content that sows hatred towards minority groups and this is becoming a source of hatred in the hearts of students for first time as early as 2004. We need our students to absorb content that speaks of peace, harmony and justice.”