‘Hate content in Pak school text books increased manifold’

LAHORE: At a time when Pakistan is plagued by terrorism, its official academia has been unable to stop the inclusion of hate material targeting Hindus, Christians and Sikhs and fanning sectarian hatred in school curriculum.

This hate material included in text books being used in Punjab and Sindh provinces mainly targets the country’s religious minorities –
Hindus, Christians and Sikhs – and India and Westerners, says the NGO National Commission for Justice and Peace.

“The latest text books have more hate content than those written previously,” the NGO said in a statement.

According to a content analysis of books published by the Punjab and Sindh text book boards that was done by the NCJP, the hate content has increased manifold with the passage of time.

“Many textbooks that had no hate material in their earlier versions, now carry such material in Punjab and Sindh provinces. The issue of religious intolerance should be discussed openly and that must lead to some action to save younger students from such influences at the outset,” the NCJP said in a report entitled “Education or Fanning Hate”.

The report said there were 45 lines containing hate material in books published in Punjab during 2009-11, and the figure increased to 122 lines this year.

The text books for Urdu and Pakistan Studies for Classes VII, VIII, IX and X were found to be the “most affected”, as hate material increased from 15 lines to 86 lines.

In all, 22 lessons in the current curriculum for primary and secondary schools have hate content, the report said.

Rights and civil society groups have often blamed such contents in text books for fanning sectarian hatred and animosity towards countries like India. In 2009, Urdu textbooks for Classes IX and X, the Pakistan Studies text book for Class IX, the history text book for Class VI and the social studies text book for Class VIII had no hate content but the latest versions of these books have up to four lessons that contain such material.

The old Urdu text book for Class VIII had one such lesson but the new edition has three lessons. -PTI

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