In a first, religious textbooks to be published for students of minority groups

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For the first time in the country’s history, the National Curriculum Council (NCC) has allowed the publication of religious textbooks for students of seven minority religious groups enrolled in educational institutions supervised by the federal government.

The issuance of the no-objection certificates (NOCs) by the NCC will allow the National Book Foundation (NBF) to publish textbooks on Hinduism, Sikhism, Christianity, Bahai, Zoroastrianism, Kalasha and Buddhism.

According to the seven different NOCs, students of the minority communities from grade one to three will be taught religious textbooks in schools in the federal capital or educational instituworking under the ambit of federal government.

NCC chief Maryam Chaghatai told The Express Tribune that the decision is only applicable to the schools that are under the administrative control of the federal education ministry and added that education is a provincial subject under the 18th Constitutional Amendment.

However, the NCC chief said they were also sharing the draft of the religious textbooks with the provincial governments.

“If any province wants, they can publish these books through their respective boards. We have also received a request in this regard. Punjab is interested in teaching religious textbooks to the students of the minority communities in their schools,” she added.

Moreover, according to the NOCs, initially these books will be published in Urdu language. The textbooks for the Bahai will be published from the first to the fifth grade, while for Hinduism, Kalash, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism and Sikhism, from grade 1 to 3.

For Christian community, the textbooks will be published for students of grades 1 to 4.

According to the notification, the textbooks will be published as per National Curriculum for Religious Education and will be free of any kind of cultural, linguistic or ethnic prejudice, while these textbooks will not include any material against any religion or the state of Pakistan.

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