Multifaceted learning: Non-Muslim students across Sindh to study ‘ethics’ from April 1
KARACHI: The Sindh Text Book Board (STBB), Jamshoro has introduced a book on ethics for non-Muslim students from class seven.
The book, which covers different religions and ethical values, will become part of coursework at government schools for minorities’ students from the new academic year of 2016-2017 starting from April 1 this year. The book, written in Urdu, covers various topics including, Hinduism, Christianity, Sikhism and Sufi poetry, and also has information on all religious festivals practiced in Pakistan.
In the first phase of the book’s implementation, it will be introduced from class seven onwards while STBB also has plans to introduce it in primary classes.
“Books will be provided free of charge to government schools and also be sent to some private schools which use STBB course material,” shared STBB chairperson Zakir Ali Shah while talking to The Express Tribune. He also said the book will be used all over the province so non-Muslim students are not forced to study Islamiat.
“The book will help students of Umerkot and Tharparkar, where Hindus are in majority, as they did not have any option but to study Islamiat,” Shah added.
The STBB chief explained that they have been working on the course outline and syllabus of the book since the last two years.
“This book is a complete package for all students, and will promote peace and help bring a sense of unity in the minds of non-Muslims who think they are isolated,” he said.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Hindu Council patron-in-chief and MNA Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani appreciated the step taken by the Sindh government. He was of the view that it would be better if all the provinces take such steps for the betterment of relations between Hindus and people of other religions residing in the same country.
“We always work for changing mindsets and this particular step will be very helpful in achieving peace and avoiding hatred against each other,” he said, adding that this should have been done much sooner but it is still never too late to welcome a good initiative.
“When I was a student, we had trained teachers from minorities but now there are no teachers who can teach our religion to our children,” he said.
However, the STBB chairperson said there is a 5% quota for minorities in the education department and they have teachers who can serve as tutors for these new books.
“Peace and harmony will flourish if students will be taught ethics,” said advocate Saleem Michael, adding that through such initiatives students will be saved from being taught hate speech and be able to build strong bonds among their friends from other religions. “Adding chapters on different religions in the book will help students understand about other beliefs also,” said Michael, adding that the book should also be compulsory for Muslim students.