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Next Step Towards Roshan Kahyali (Controversial Book Teaches Sexual Content in Government Schools)

Posted by yourpakistan on April 18, 2011


By Asad Farooq – Daily Times Pakistan

Several government secondary schools of Karachi have included a controversial book containing sensitive content on the theme of sexual health in their curricula for class sixth to Matric. 

The book called “Zindagi guzarne ke maharaton per mubni taaleem” (Life Skill Based Education – LSBE) is a supplementary besides the syllabus approved by the Sindh Text Book Board (STBB).

Father of a girl, studying in class 7th, pointed out several lines in the book which can be regarded as utterly controversial.

In the fourth paragraph of chapter 12, page no 56, students have been instructed to use ‘secure procedure’ during sexual intercourse with their partners, to avoid inheriting diseases such as Aids or Hepatitis.

The next point in the paragraph instructs, ‘During sex with an affected person or someone you don’t know, a condom should be used’. It may be mentioned here that the book is being taught to the students of class sixth to Matric.

The father who requested anonymity asked emotionally, “Is this what we send our daughters to learn from school?” The objectionable content is not only present in chapter 12 but also in chapter 8 page no 37, chapter10 page no 44, chapter 11 page no 48, he said adding that a picture of marriage ceremony in the book is portraying a court marriage instead of traditional, while in chapter 16, page no 70 strange behaviour of an uncle with her niece has been discussed.

The father further said such type of information was not necessary to be taught at the level of class sixth, seventh or eighth, adding, “Who told the government to add this content in the curricula of such level?”

The book was published under the project with same title “Life Skill Based Education” (LSBE) programme. The programme is being run by the World Population Foundation (WPF) under the aegis of the European Union (EU), besides local governmental and non-governmental organisations. WPF is an international organisation while its major donors include the EU, World Bank, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Kingdom of Netherlands etc. It may be mentioned here that before the introduction of book, a three-day training was organised for the selected teachers at a local hotel who were also paid a stipend of Rs 300 per day.

Daily Times has learnt that the supporters of LSBE programme bestowed Rs 20,000 to the schools where this book was being taught.

Interesting occurrences surfaced at the launching of book when a few teachers excused the relevant authorities from teaching the book after reading the content. Several principals and even a high profile education officer in Karachi termed the content of the book very controversial. Despite severe criticism over the book in the inner circles of education department, the book was introduced in several schools of the metropolis due to reason unknown.

When contacted District Education Officer Shabbir Ahmed Jokhio initially expressed ignorance about any such book. He said only the curriculum of the STBB was being taught in the public schools. However, he later remembered that the book was being taught in 16 schools of the metropolis, out of which 10 are of girls and six are of boys.

Replying to a question, he said that there was no role of the education department in the content generation of book. The WPF self-managed to write and publish the book and it was the only responsible entity for the controversial content present in the book. It may also be mentioned here that a disclaimer by EU, is published on the first page of book, which states that the content of said publication is the sole responsibility of the WPF.

Commenting on behalf of his department, Jokhio said that the content is quite contrary to the local values and should be modified. He hoped that the objectionable content will be eliminated from the book in the next year. He also informed that the book was being taught as a result of an agreement between the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) and WPF, which was signed between the two sides during the tenure of the former CDGK Head Syed Mustafa Kamal.

It is pertinent to mention here that the WPF Country Representative Qadir Baig concludes in his vote of thanks published in the book, that the content of book was composed with the help of WFP’s previous books. This leaves an impression the LSBE or its succeeding books may have been taught in Western countries.

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