Textbooks in two of the country’s provinces contain an alarming amount of hate material, while their education policy shows a deep-rooted bias against religious minorities, according to a new study.
The Catholic Bishop’s National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) revealed the results of the research “Taleem ya Nafrat ki Aabiyari” (Educating or nurturing hate) yesterday during a seminar at a hotel in Lahore.
The study examined 22 textbooks currently being used in Punjab and Sindh provinces for students in grades 1 to 10. Within these books researchers say they found references in 55 chapters containing hate material against Christians, Hindus, Bangladesh and neighboring India.
“Hindus completely controlled the education sector in East Pakistan. They prepared and motivated Bengalis against Pakistan,” states a Grade 10 Pakistan studies book referring to the 1971 split with what is now Bangladesh and published by the Punjab textbook board.
“Hindus can never become true friends with Muslims,” a Grade 5 Islamic studies book by the same board states.
Similarly, “Christian pastors had increased their influence a lot … They used to hold open gatherings in cities and villages, glorify the Christian faith and spoke ill of other religions,” a passage in a Grade 6 social studies book from the Sindh textbook board states.
“There are insulting remarks against minority religions and distorted historical facts. The textbooks heavily rely on the rhetoric that Hindus opposed while Muslims favored the creation of Pakistan, said Peter Jacob, executive secretary of the NCJP.
“They claim that only Muslims faced violent attacks as well as loss of life and property, and they did not participate in bloodshed. The whole treatment and arrangement of textbooks is visibly discriminatory,” he told the seminar.
The use of hate-based material in books in the two provinces is on the rise, he added.
The NCJP is presently fighting several courts cases against the policy of providing additional marks to students who have memorized the Qu’ran.
It has been reviewing school curriculums for seven years.
The commission recently shared its findings with provincial education ministers in all four provinces.
So far, only Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province says it will revise its current syllabus.