The Multan District Education Authority has directed a private school to remove social studies books taught across various grades from its curriculum. The ban has been placed as the books depict an incorrect map of Pakistan.
The orders have been passed following an earlier directive by the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board (PCTB). In this regard, Multan DEA chief executive officer (CEO) issued a letter to the district education officer to ensure compliance. The subject of the letter was “The books on social studies for class II, IV, V, VII and VIII being taught in the Educators Schools banned by the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board Lahore”.
The PCTB had earlier directed all DEA CEOs in the province to enforce the ban on the said book and PCTB Managing Director Abdul Qayyum had also issued a notification banning the book as well as lodged a complaint for registration of a criminal case against the administration of the school and the publisher and producer of the book. The PCTB had said that the social studies books for class II, IV, V, VII and VIII had controversial/objectionable contents, especially the depiction of the map of Pakistan.
The PCTB notification read, “These books are hereby banned by the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board, Lahore, on the basis of having objectionable and controversial material and have not been approved by the PCTB for the use in educational institutions in any form under Section (10) of the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board Act, 2015.”
The Act bars any person from printing, publishing, selling or prescribing a textbook in any institution without prior approval of the board.
On the other hand, the school administration says it has removed the books from within its network. A spokesperson said that the matter had been raised a few months ago and had been resolved then. The question is, if it had been, why did the DEA feel the need for issuing fresh directives for enforcement of the ban.
Books by foreign publishers often contain wrong maps of Pakistan, at times on purpose and other times out of error. The most common of these depictions is showing Pakistan without Azad Jammu and Kashmir as its part.