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Research Introduction

The study looked into the then in force curriculum documents and school textbooks as well as those
curriculum documents that were most recently formulated but had not been implemented yet. The
objective of the study was to identify problematic contents of textbooks and to ascertain if the curriculum
formulation was the source of such contents. The subjects chosen were those which can offer a greater
space for political and ideological manipulation.
States quite often use formal education as a tool to disseminate and perpetuate their political messages. In
the Pakistani context, the use of education as a political tool intensified after 1971 mainly due to the
demands of redefining Pakistan after the political crisis of East Pakistan and emergence of Pakistan as a
truncated country. The military government of General Zia ul Haq after the coup in 1977 had its own
problem of legitimacy, which it tried to guise in an overarching quest for Islamization of the society.
Education was among the first of its victims. Religious political parties became enthusiastic partners in
this quest. In the educational sphere, this amounted to a distorted narration of history, factual inaccuracies,
inclusion of hate material, a disproportionate inclusion of Islamic studies in other disciplines, glorification
of war and the military, gender bias, etc. Subsequent governments either failed to check these harmful
deviations, or willingly perpetuated them.
This study is by no means the first to point out these issues. The civil society of Pakistan reacted almost
immediately to the Zia governments policies of Islamization of education.
Soon thereafter, the Lahore-based Society for the Advancement of Education (SAHE) produced a report
in 1986 on Pakistans curriculum based on a countrywide consultation involving a number of eminent
educationists of the country2. Mubarak Ali, through his thought provoking works, brought forth the
distortions, inaccuracies and biases in textbooks through his books3, newspaper articles4 and booklets
both in English and Urdu.
K.K. Aziz also pointed out errors in history textbooks in a chapter of his book Historians of Pakistan,
published in the early 90s5. In another famous book on the subject, Murder of History in Pakistan,
Professor Aziz analysed in detail 66 school textbooks and identified historical errors and inaccuracies6.
Renowned human rights activist and journalist, I. A. Rahman has also touched upon the issue of historical
distortion in textbooks regarding the tragedy of 1971 (Fall of Dhaka)7.
The earliest work on gender bias in textbooks emerged from Simorgh and Aurat Foundation, NGOs that
specialize in women related issues.8
In 1993 Rubina Saigol conducted a content analysis of language and social studies textbooks to find out
the amount of hate material, and nationalistic and militaristic ideologies packed in the textbooks. In her
Ph.D. thesis in the early nineties and subsequently in her various research papers, books and monographs,
she conducted a detailed analysis of social studies, civics, history and Pakistan Studies textbook. She also
identified such additional categories of problems in curriculum and textbooks as 'glorification of the
military', and did a comparative analysis of textbooks from the preAyub period, Ayub era and the Bhutto era.9
Several other writers also highlighted the issues, among them were Tariq Rahman10, Khurshid

Hasanain11, Yvette Rosser12, Ahmed Salim13 Zafarullah Khan14 and Ajmal Kamal15. Shaheed Zulfikar
Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST) brought out a collective study on the contents
of Pakistan Studies textbooks from school to the university level.16 More recently, The Social Policy and
Development Centre, Karachi has published a comprehensive report17 on the state of education in
Pakistan containing also a critique of the learning material.
Lastly, it was also deemed essential to make a collective study in order to bring together all the various
perspectives from which individual analysts had looked at the educational material.
The initiative at SDPI was taken by A. H. Nayyar and Ahmed Salim and joined in by Mohsin Babbar,
Ayesha Inayat and Aamna Mattu. A research project was developed and such educationists who had
expressed their opinion on the issue were invited to be a part of it. They were university professors,
school and college teachers, and members of civil society organisations in the private sector. Their names
are listed in .. Two 2-day workshops were held. In the first workshop, ideas were formulated, areas of
focus were defined, and tasks assigned to the program participants to take home and bring back their
studies in the second workshop three weeks later. It was also decided to focus only on the subjects of
Social Studies, Pakistan Studies, Urdu, English and Civics. Most of the participants brought their in-depth
studies of the learning material in the second workshop. Their contributions, which were scrutinised and
discussed in detail collectively, have become the source of the contents of this report. While everyone had
something to contribute, some like Rubina Saigol, Neelum Hussain, Seema Pervez, Zarina Salamat,
Haroon Nasir, to name a few, contributed more than others. Among them too, the well-focused written
contributions of Rubina Saigol formed the mainstay of several chapters of this report. The second
workshop also assigned the task of preparing detailed analyses based on the collective contributions to
some participants. These appear in the report as chapters in the name(s) of the writer(s).
The March 2002 revision of curricula undertaken by the Curriculum Wing of the Ministry of Education
did not address the problems that existed in earlier curriculum documents.
In some cases, these problems are now even worse.
Our analysis found that some of the most significant problems in the current curricula
and textbooks are:
a. Inaccuracies of fact and omissions that serve to substantially distort the nature and significance of
actual events in our history.
b. Insensitivity to the existing religious diversity of the nation
c. Incitement to militancy and violence, including encouragement of Jehad and Shahadat
d. Perspectives that encourage prejudice, bigotry and discrimination towards fellow citizens, especially
women and religious minorities, and other towards nations.
e. A glorification of war and the use of force
f. Omission of concepts, events and material that could encourage critical selfawareness
among students
g. Outdated and incoherent pedagogical practices that hinder the development of interest and insight
among students

To give a few examples:

The books on Social Studies systematically misrepresent events that have happened throughout the
Pakistans history, including those which are within living memory of many people.
This history is narrated with distortions and omissions. The causes, effects, and responsibility for key
events are presented so as to leave a false understanding of our national experience. A large part of the
history of South Asia is also omitted, making it difficult to properly interpret events, and narrowing the
perspective that should be open to students. Worse, the material is presented in ways that encourage the
student to marginalize and be hostile towards other social groups and people in the region.
The curricula and textbooks are insensitive to the religious diversity of the Pakistani society. While
learning of Islamiat is compulsory for Muslim students, on average over a quarter of the material in books
to teach Urdu as a language is on one religion. The books on English have lessons with religious content.
Islamiat is also taught in Social Studies classes. Thus, the entire is heavily laden with religious teachings,
reflecting a very narrow view held by a minority among Muslims that all the education should be
essentially that of Islamiat.24
There is a strong current of exclusivist and divisive tendencies at work in the subject matter
recommended for studies in the curriculum documents as well as in textbooks.
Pakistani nationalism is repeatedly defined in a manner that excludes non-Muslim Pakistanis from either
being Pakistani nationals or from even being good human beings.
Much of this material runs counter to any efforts at national integration.The Constitution of Pakistan is
cited but misinterpreted, in making the reading of the Qur'an compulsory in schools. The Constitution
requires the compulsory reading of the Quran for Muslim students alone, but in complete disregard of
this restriction, it is included in the textbooks of a compulsory subject like Urdu which is to be read by
students of all religions. The Class III Urdu textbook has 7 lessons on Nazra Qur'an and its translations.
The Urdu and Social Studies curricula even ask for all the students to be
taught Islamic religious practices like Namaz and Wuzu.
Besides severe pedagogical problems like uneven standards of lessons in books on English and Urdu
languages and bad English even in the English language books, glaring contradictions exist in books on
Social Studies. Together, these factors make it almost impossible for students to develop critical and
analytical skills.
The curriculum as well as textbooks excessively emphasize the "Ideology of Pakistan"which is a postindependence construction devised to sanctify their politics of those political forces which were initially
inimical to the creation of Pakistan

Gender construction: A case of Pakistani science textbook

By Zaheer Abbas
School curriculum plays a vital role in making any discipline appropriate and attractive to
students and encourages their involvement in the particular subjects. In many
developed and developing countries, it is a primary source to share, directly or
indirectly, the notion of education for all citizens. With respect to this all-encompassing
perspective, one may assume that both male and female are equally portrayed in
textbooks. This paper specifically discusses the analysis of three science textbooks for
grade 8 (Punjab, Sindh and a Private Textbook Board) in terms of how equally females
and males are represented in both illustrations and text. It concludes with some
recommendations based on the findings, and the implications for different stakeholders
of education. In order to determine the representation of male and female in the science
textbook, content was thoroughly analyzed. Firstly, the frequency of male and females
appearing in the illustrations in the textbooks were computed. From the results, it was
evident that illustrations depicting male were more than four times of the illustrations
representing females. Although science textbooks of Punjab and Sindh have more
female images as compared to the private textbook; however when the nature of
images were explored, it was found that these images or photos were representing
female in very conventional roles especially in Punjab and Private Textbooks. For
example, in Punjab Textbook, in the uses of acids in cotton and textile industries, an
image of a girl is given who is wearing a colourful dress. None of the illustrations
represent females doing any science activity. In addition, it seems that an effort has
been made in the textbook of Sindh Textbook Board to avoid stereotyping by including
illustrations of females in science activities. For example, two illustrations are given
where two girls are doing an activity about how sound travels in water. On the other
hand, in all the three textbooks, males were over represented doing science related
activities and notions like, males have presented in science concepts of force and
motion, energy, food chains, sound and so on. The three textbooks also differed in the
way the common nouns are used in the text. The analysis of the text revealed that on
average, frequency of common nouns representing males was more than seven times
(84%) of the frequency of common nouns representing females. In other words, males
were heavily over-represented in the text as compared to females. When further
analysis was carried out to see the types of commons nouns, it was found that males
were presented as astronauts, policeman, and climbers while none of such common
nouns were used for females. In comparison with other two textbooks, the textbook of
Punjab seems to have a balance in the representation of both male and female in text.
In all the three textbooks, the names of male and female scientists were also counted to
explore whether male and female scientists have represented equally or not. From the

analysis, it was quite clear that all the scientists presented were male. In other words,
the representation of scientists was gender biased favouring males. In Sindh textbooks,
both male and female scientists are absent while in Punjab textbook, only one male
scientists name is presented. Contrarily, 12 scientists names are given in the Private
textbook and all are males. This paper reported the analysis of three science textbooks
of grade 8th of different textbook boards of Pakistan. The results revealed that on
average, there is a clear gender imbalance in both the illustration and text favouring
males. Only in two illustrations, female have been shown doing a science experiment
while all the other illustrations do not represent females doing any science activity. In
other words, the textbooks have portrayed female image stereotypically. Hence, from
the under-representation and stereotypes of women in these textbooks, it seems that
the textbooks are gender blind in nature. In developing countries like Pakistan,
textbooks are considered as the major source of instructions in schools. Shared aims of
publishing the textbooks especially science textbooks, are to use these textbooks to
stimulate students interest, motivate them towards science and science related fields
and help them to acquire a better understanding of science without marginalizing any
social group. In this sense, gender imbalance favouring male in the science textbooks
means to exclude woman from science. So the messages delivered by such a gender
biased school textbooks will be taken by students as science is preserved for males
more as compared to female. This imbalance, Potter and Rosser (1992) believe, may
disseminate the message that males are the norm in science. Walford (1980) also
argues that gender bias and masculine face of science in textbooks may play a role in
promoting the view that science is a boys subject more than the girls subject. The
gendered biased curricula have also some other negative impacts on female science
education. When young students enter school, the images of males and females
portrayed in the textbooks crystalize their conceptions about gender. It results in
developing their self-image, their behaviour, aspirations and expectations. Therefore,
balanced depiction of male and females in the illustration of textbooks is important as it
can provide them with role models. When textbooks are biased in terms of gender, then
lack of role models especially for girls will dampen their aspirations and dispirit their
attendance and achievement in science. Less representation of females in science text,
illustration and as scientists will also limit the chances of young girls to perceive them in
science related careers. It would also hinder their participation in science related
activities in classrooms as it would not allow them to nurture perceptions of themselves
in possible social roles in science. Different research studies have identified gender
biased textbooks as one of the important factors contributing to the academic failure
and resultant dropout among girls in science. Moreover, women portrayal in nonscientific roles in science, especially in the illustrations of the middle school textbooks
may act as stereotype threat for young girls which may result in their low performance in
science. This stereotype threat may, in further consequences, negatively impact their
enrolment in secondary and higher classes. Female under-representation and

stereotypes in Pakistani textbooks are one of the key factors hindering womens entry
into science. Further, such textbooks do not offer learners, the space to imagine a
different set of gender relations. This desperate situation indicates the need for
improved role models of girls in science textbooks. The need is not only to have gender
aware textbooks but to have gender sensitive textbooks. As the textbooks are revised,
therefore, instead of emphasizing traditional roles of women, including females in
scientific activities as chemist, astronaut, astronomer and researcher in a laboratory
may be helpful. Furthermore, while selecting names that appear in text, the authors and
publishers should consider gender equity and equality in mind. In other words, the
whole content, which includes text and illustration, should be gender inclusive. For
example, words representing only male (gender) can be replaced with the wordshuman
being/people (gender neutral) or man and woman (when both male and female are
referred) and he (pronoun for male) with she and he or they(Dean, 2007). It is important
to note that unless the textbooks are not gender balanced, children will continue to
absorb the biases of existing understanding of society and reproduce these stereotypes
in future. To get the goal of gender sensitive textbooks, human resource development in
gender equality should be made a permanent feature of the textbook development
process. It is very surprising that presently there is no gender expert/consultant at any
level of the curriculum and textbook development process in Pakistan. Therefore, it can
be recommended that such personnel should be hired for training the concerned people
in creating and developing gender sensitive/responsive curricula, textbooks and other
teaching and learning material (Ashraf, 2009).

the study found that primary

education is the most neglected, poorly financed and poorly managed. There is
political interference in the system which breeds corruption, favoritism and nepotism.
The system of supervision is weak and traditionally characterized having no effective
mechanism for teacher training with poor system of accountability, teachers are
underpaid and successive educational policies have failed to bring any positive
changes in the system due to poor implementation. The curriculum of the primary
education is outdated. Assessment is based on the memory of the students rather than
their performance.

Education is a vital process of the development of any society. It is considered

one of the
main pillars of a society (Adams, 1998). Education is the foundation of all types
developments in the world. It is an established fact that in the world only those
nations have

made progress and development which have a sound education system (Ball,
Education develops individuals. It creates awareness among the people about
life and its
challenges in the world. It fills empty minds with ideas and creativity. Thus
sound nations play leadership role in the world (American Federation of
Teachers, 2000).
Since its independence, Pakistan lagged behind in national development and
progress due to
weak education system. The primary system of education could not make
progress due to
many factors such as parochial feudal and sate politicians, corrupt bureaucracy,
regimes, fragile civil society and weak democracy. The system of primary
education was
deliberately neglected in the country. Instead of developing the nation on the
basis of free and
quality education, the system was hijacked by so-called monsters of democracy
development (Zafar, 2003).


Following were the main objectives of this study.

1. To identify the main problems of primacy education system in Pakistan.
2. To examine critically the causes of the problems of primary education systems
3. To present possible long term solutions on the basis of the study to the
problems of primary education system in Pakistan.

This research study attempts to explore the main causes of the problems of
primary education
system in Pakistan. For this purpose, a vast literature was critically reviewed.
The analysis of
the problems and its causes is presented below,

Over the years women status has been studied in diverse contexts in diverse perspectives. Islamic perspective is the
most misunderstood by non-muslin scholars particularly and some moderate Muslims generally. Women status in

Islamic countries traditionally has been seen in context of Islamization impact on women and not in the context of
their cultures and regions which they belong (Zeba A. Sathar et al 2002).
Naturally human beings are divided into two genders and both are given responsibilities and rights which suit them,
discrimination is the practice of granting or denying rights or offer privileges based on the gender.
There is an established and growing body of research on Gender roles however, traditional theories
encounters status of woman in Islamic perspective. The theoretical framework applied by mainstream research
is clearly gendered (Ahl 2006). What impact Islamization means in Pakistan, what is the role of muslin woman
expected in a muslim state, on the other hand feminist movement focused only on inadequate representation of
women in Pakistans all spheres of life to design policies to promote Pakistan an Islamic state (Rasul Bakhsh
Rais 2007). In developing economies usually gender roles are largely determined by social norms & traditions
not determined by only religion of population. In all over Pakistan, existences of significant regional gender
differences prove this reality (Farzana Bari; Manila 2000).

Muslims principle book is Quran. Many verses of muslims religion book Quran tells in text that
Creator of human beings says:
"I shall not lose sight of the labor of any of you who labors in my way, be it man or woman; each of
you is equal to the other (3:195)"
In the Quran accountability for men and women, spiritual equality and responsibility is a unique and
well-developed theme. This spiritual equality between men and women is base of equality in all aspects of
human life in the world and after world in the sight of Allah inequality in society seem as: woman's status in
comparison with man's in marriage , forbidden from driving ,
dress code and requirements, given right of divorce to man , chances of education, mobilization, victims of
violence, custody rights, citizenship, sexual subjugation, female infanticide witnessing, inheritance.
Fields of life for both genders are different not in a way of importance but for the sake of humanity and
perfection of beautiful human life. We can differentiate these fields but cannot grade on the basis of superiority
and inferiority. To this end, we have conducted qualitative research based on previous literature. In this article,
we begin by providing some context on history on women status in previous civilization. We then briefly
discussed Islamic perspective, outlining contribution of Islam toward the reinstatement of woman s rights and
added the literature on women rights at home and workplace. Next we discussed our methodology before
examining the findings. Our discussion focuses on how cultural norms influence the status of gender and what
are the reasons of gender discrimination other than religion. Finally, we conclude our paper and outline its
limitations and the future research agenda.
Question 1
Is there gender discrimination exist in Pakistan?
Question 2
Are gender roles determined by society norms or by religion?
Question 3
What are reasons of gender discrimination?
The aim of this study is to enrich the understanding of existence of gender discrimination in Pakistan in reality in
Islamic perspective. It further explores is there any relationship between practiced gender roles in Pakistan and
gender roles described in religion Islam and what are reasons of discrimination.
Muslims religious book Quran is in Arabic language. Pakistan has literacy rate 58percent in 2012 ,
(Only 22 percent of girls, compared to 47 percent boys, complete primary schooling (Economic Survey of
Pakistan 2012).This is included people who can write and read their names only. With such literacy rate it can
not be expected that society will understand and obey all religious orders of Allah given in Arabic book Quran.
Given these gaps, and building on the argument that the gender discrimination is result of various
cultural influences that have converged during different periods over the history: British inheritance, Indian
influences (before partition), and religious and American influences (Khilji, 1999). As a result of all these
influences, different cultural practices have become prevalent. Although the more than 95percent population is

of Pakistan is muslim, Islamic practices are not very much prevalent; society seems influenced by history,
regional traditions, religion and modernization. However, as a result of various historical transition periods, both
liberal and conservative beliefs are widespread and influence the populations mindset.
Considering that our aim in this paper is to enrich understanding of if gender discrimination exists then
it is result of Islamization , or cultural norms, it explores all theories and policies may have limitations but life
code given by manufacturer of whole universe can not be wrong. Some of the most extreme examples of gender
Methodology for paper was thematic and secondary data was analyzed thematically. Qualitative data was collected
based on previous literature and current reports to explore the discrimination in Pakistani culture is real or is a
myth. Neutral studies about this topic were found limited. Studies are done by religious scholars in one extreme and
moderate scholars on another extreme. Data was analysed using thematic analysis. The data analysis process was
done using the principles recommended by Spiggle 1999) and others (Strauss and Corbin 1990; Arnould and
Wallendorf, 1994) for the analysis and interpretation of qualitative data.