Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Pakistani Minorities Teachers' Association Is Planning a Boycott of Ethics Textbooks in Their Country

Their leader, Prof. Anjum James Paul, has written to the Prime Minister of Pakistan saying that they discriminate against non-Muslims

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries

FAISALABAD, PAKISTAN (ANS) -- A Pakistani leader of a minority's teacher's group, Professor. Anjum James Paul, has written to the Prime Minister of his country, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, claiming that ethics textbooks discriminate against non-Muslims.

Children attend a UNICEF-supported Co-curricular activities at a government primary school in Bogharmang Union Council, Pakistan. (© UNICEF/PAKA2008-1519/Giacomo Pirozzi)
And he has told the ASSIST News Service that his group, the Pakistani Minorities Teachers' Association, are planning a boycott of these ethics textbooks in their country.

He said, "There is Islamization of textbooks as Islamic prayer is written almost on each and every textbook while these books are for all the students regardless of any creed".

In his letter to the Prime Minister, Paul says that article 25 (1) of the Constitution of Pakistan guarantees equal citizenship to all Pakistanis as it describes, 'All citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law'".

He went on to say, "It is a sorrowful state that there is the violation of the constitution in this regard. There is discrimination with the fundamental rights of the students of the religious minorities. There are biases and propagation on the religious basis against Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs in the contents of the present curriculum and the textbooks.
Prime Minister of Pakistan. (© UNICEF/PAKA2008-1519/
Giacomo Pirozzi)

"Muslim students have been provided the facility of the subject of Islamic Studies and of the teachers but the minority students have been have been deprived of their fundamental right to study their own religion/s. It is the responsibility of the state to provide equal opportunity to all citizens without any discrimination. Due to this the parents and students from the minorities are in oppression and depression.

"They feel insecure to send their children even to the public sector educational institutions because anything wrong can happen to them. The minority students have to suffer due to the biased curriculum, biased textbooks and biased environment of the educational institutions.

"Sir, the subject of Ethics has been introduced only for the minority students though it is the utmost need of all the students to have the human values such as tolerance, patience, human dignity and human rights. The minority students have to study mythology and comparison study of religions from grade 3 to grade 11 which is a master level course while the majority students have to study only the fundamental teachings of their own religion. The subject of Ethics is like a poison for these innocent minority students of the age 6 or 7. This is the age for them to know their own religion/s but they are going to be confused in the forthcoming textbooks.
Children at a Pakistan school held in the open.(© UNICEF/PAKA2008-1519/Giacomo Pirozzi)

"The curriculum in the subject of Ethics is biased and even there has not been any role of Christians, Hindus, and Sikhs to develop the textbooks according to their beliefs. The subject of Ethics is being imposed on the minority students. The minorities have always demanded the subject of "RELIGION" for their children as their constitutional and fundamental right but unfortunately no government has paid heed on this genuine demand."

He then said that the Pakistan Minorities Teachers' Association has the following demands on behalf of the religious minorities of Pakistan.

1. The subject of 'Ethics' must be replaced into the subject of 'Religion'.
2. There must be separate textbooks and teachers for Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Baha'i, Parsi and other minority students as it is in the case of the majority students.
3. The curriculum and textbooks in the subject of 'Religion' must be developed by the educationists and the theologians of the relevant religion/s.
4. The biased and hate promoting material against Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and other religions must be abolished from all the textbooks.
5. Comparison between or among religions must be abolished from all the textbooks as it is described in the instructions of the Curriculum Wing, but deliberately violated while the textbooks are developed by the publishers.
6. There must be chapters on peace, human rights, human dignity, social and interfaith harmony at all levels.
7. The role of all the Pakistani heroes in different fields must be included in the textbooks without the distinction of race or creed as all the Pakistanis have played their role in the creation and construction of Pakistan.
Professor Anjum James Paul
Anjum Paul added, "Sir, the rights of child are guaranteed not only in the Constitution of Pakistan but also in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Convention on the Rights of the Child, International Covenant on the Civil and Political Rights, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief."
He then said that PMTA he would like to present a brief description of the Articles that safeguard the rights of the child in this regard which included Article 22 of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973, which says,
Article 22: Safeguards as to educational institutions in respect of religion, etc.
(1) 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.
(2) In respect of any religious institution, there shall be no discrimination against any community in the granting of exemption or concession in relation to taxation.
(3) Subject to law
(a) no religious community or denomination shall be prevented from providing religious instruction for pupils of that community or denomination in any educational institution maintained wholly by that community or denomination; and
(b) no citizen shall be denied admission to any educational institution receiving aid from public revenues on the ground only of race, religion, caste or place of birth

He concluded his letter to the Prime Minister by saying, "Sir, we request you to kindly address the demands of the Pakistan Minorities Teachers' Association (PMTA) and provide the constitutional, fundamental and legal rights to bring the minority students from oppression and depression. There must be the supremacy of law and all citizens must be treated equally as guaranteed in the Article 25 (1) of the Constitution of Pakistan. There will be good a gesture to the community of nations as Pakistan is already signatory of the above mentioned Covenants and Conventions and has ratified them.

"It is utmost need of the time to promote the culture of peace, harmony, tolerance, human rights and social justice. Such a culture can only flourish when education system is fair and unbiased and according to the guidelines of UNESCO. Secure minds can secure the nation but not the arms".

Professor Anjum James Paul also sent ANS a brief introduction to the efforts and achievements of the Pakistan Minorities Teachers' Association (PMTA), in which he said, "The Pakistan Minorities Teachers' Association (PMTA) was established on August 28, 2005 by Professor Anjum James Paul. PMTA is constantly struggling with a dream to make Pakistan a role model state where people of religious minorities will one day live as a part of Pakistani nation and where they will not be judged by their faiths but by the content of equality.

"PMTA feels pleasure to share with you its role and achievements and expects more positive changes in the near future. Though it is a way to Calvary but we know that way to Calvary is a way to victory. The achievements are the results of our reservations and recommendations that have been brought to the notice of the esteemed offices of the government of Pakistan through correspondence, raising voice through electronic and print media, the support of minorities politicians ,religious leaders of the minorities and the civil society.

"Though much has to be achieved yet but we are hopeful that we shall surely be able to achieve our destination someday. The reservations and recommendations have also been placed in the end so that the readers may come to know for our unending efforts to abolish all sorts of discriminations from the Pakistani educational system and to make this land according to the vision of its founder Quaid-i- Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah that he presented in the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947".

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