Chronic failure of curriculum reform is contempt of SC: Professor Anjum James

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In the wake of Christian student’s lynching, prominent Pakistani Christian educationist Professor Anjum James Paul has slammed government’s failure to bring about curriculum reform. He claims that government’s failure in this regard is actually a contempt of court.

Department of Education in Pakistan

Professor Anjum James Paul a prominent Pakistani Christian educationist and Chairman Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association (PMTA) said that on June 19, 2014 the Supreme Court of Pakistan had directed the government to draft a curriculum in such a way so to promote a culture of religious tolerance. He said that curriculum incites hatred towards religious minorities therefore; students are fed with religion based animosity.

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He said that the cases of fellow students lynching Mashal Khan and classmate lynching Sharoon Masih are pure examples of religion based extremism. He says that Sharoon was lynched in the premises of a state-run school while Mashal lost his life on the university grounds.

In a statement sent to Christians in Pakistan, Professor Anjum maintained that it is due to the fact that government has utterly “failed to develop a curriculum at school and college levels to promote a culture of religious and social tolerance and due to this Pakistan is facing the challenges of extremism and terrorism.”

The text of the Supreme Court verdict regarding curriculum reform is as below:
(ii) appropriate curricula be developed at school and college levels to promote a culture of religious and social tolerance (page 30)

Professor Anjum James revealed that he received a letter from the government of Pakistan in a letter had assured that: “There are no biases in future books.” Nonetheless, federal and provincial governments have this far failed to eradicate hate inciting content from the textbooks. Professor Anjum says that textbooks being used at school and college levels are promoting culture of hatred and intolerance.

Professor Anjum said that this curriculum also violates fundamental human rights and child rights. In the light of recent killing of a Christian student, he urged the authorities to take immediate steps in order to curb the escalating extremism in the society.

At the same time, he urged the government to implement the National Action Plan. He detailed that his organization is making all the efforts to nurture a culture of religious harmony in order to achieve peaceful coexistence since 2014. Professor Anjum explained that he has prepared 20 research based documents identifying hate based content in the textbooks.