Lahore:28 May:Delay in introduction of new curriculum policy is leading to many problems. In vogue is former president Pervez Musharraf government’s policy of multiple textbooks which eliminated their scrutiny as provided in the Act of 1976 and led to introduction of concepts that are contrary to Islam.Punjab University Institute of Education Dean Prof Dr Hafiz Muhammad Iqbal has identified two such concepts in a Class-II history textbook being taught in different English-medium schools in the country, and reported them to Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif through a letter along with the copies of the textbook.
With a request of banning the textbook containing objectionable material, Prof Iqbal informed the chief minister that Class-II History textbook ‘Timeline’ by foreign author Martin Roberts contained text and information that was against the teachings of Islam and firm views by the Muslims.
Prof Iqbal stated that book’s Chapter 1 “Islam: its origins and its successes” began with a statement “The Quran which was first written down about 20 years after the death of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)”. He stated that this concept was totally against the Islamic teachings.
Prof Iqbal stated that Islamic history clearly indicated that the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (Peace be upon him) appointed some scribes to write down the verses of the Holy Quran on any suitable object — leaves of trees, pieces of wood, parchment or leather, flat stones and shoulder blades as and when the verses were revealed to the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him).
Similarly, contrary to the propaganda launched by Jews, he stated that the Muslims of Jerusalem had built Holy Aqsa Mosque on an empty piece of land. While the Jews, in their bid to expel the Muslims from Jerusalem, had propagated that the Holy Aqsa Mosque was built on the site of the Jewish Temple.
“This same concept is being propagated by the author of the same history textbook in Chapter 4, p.23. In a paragraph, the author states that the Aqsa Mosque was built on the Jewish Temple. The actual text in the textbook says: “Though Jerusalem had been conquered by the Muslims in 638 and, soon after, the famous Dome of the Rock was built on the site of the Jewish temple, the Muslim rulers allowed Christian pilgrims to continue to visit their holy places.”
The PU IER dean has requested the chief minister to order immediate withdrawal of the textbook and ensure that in future no privately produced textbook be introduced either in public or in private schools without getting it approved by a qualified and competent committee as required under the law.
Referring to the root-cause of the problem, Prof Iqbal stated that the Musharaf government adopted a disastrous policy of implementing multiple textbooks in the country, without adopting any policy for scrutinising of these textbooks as provided in the Act of 1976.
He said the Musharraf government had also excluded the course of Pakistan Studies from school curricula and introduced teaching of history instead.
The IER dean also stated in his letter that one of the laudable steps taken by the first PPP government was to introduce the Federal Supervision of Curricula, Textbooks and Maintenance of Standards of Education, Act 1976. He said this act was passed keeping in view the circumstances which had led to the cessation of East Pakistan and creation of Bangladesh.
He said the 1976 Act had authorised the federal government to check, control and remove any material from the textbooks, which would be repugnant to the injunctions of Islam and contrary to the integrity and ideology of Pakistan.
After the passage of 18th Amendment in the Constitution, Prof Iqbal said, this function had now been devolved to the provinces and that was why the Punjab government had introduced Bill No 1 of 2012 titled “The Punjab Supervision of Curricula, Textbooks and Maintenance of Standards of Education Bill 2012.”
Prof Iqbal hopes the chief minister would immediately respond to the serious problem of wrong concepts in curricula being taught to children in Punjab and develop a proper mechanism to scrutinise the textbooks.Dawn.