Private schools can’t use just any textbooks in line with Single National Curriculum

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Claim: Private schools are allowed to use any textbooks that are in line with Single National Curriculum

Fact: Private schools are only allowed to use textbooks that have been approved by provincial textbook boards, or other concerned local authorities.

On 10 February 2021, Pakistan’s education minister Shafqat Mahmood tweeted that under the Single National Curriculum private schools are allowed to use any textbooks that comply with the curriculum.

Soch Fact Check found this to be misleading. According to a press release issued by the education ministry on 27 January, private publishers looking to develop textbooks for schools require a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from provincial textbook boards. As per the press release, which cites the Single National Curriculum Textbook Policy, this measure is in place to ensure that textbooks don’t include, “anti-Pakistan, anti-religion, any other hate material”.

Earlier, on 1 January, the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board (PCTB) issued a notification announcing that all private and public schools, and madrassas were to adopt SNC’s model textbooks for grades pre-1 to 5.

In a meeting on 7 January with representatives from 22 schools, the chairperson and managing director of the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board (PCTB) cited a ruling from last year, in a case filed in the Lahore High Court. Participants at the meeting were told that, “No private or public school shall prescribe or suggest any kind of book or reading material without getting its approval from the Government or its authorized officers/ department/ organization”.

Participants were further told that publishers would require clearance from the PCTB for the development of any supplementary reading material.

Summary: In a tweet, federal education minister Shafqat Mahmood stated that private schools may teach from any textbooks as long as they are in line with SNC. Soch Fact Check found this to be misleading. Private publishers are allowed to develop textbooks and supplementary reading material only after having received approval from concerned authorities. Furthermore, as per the chairperson and managing director of Punjab’s textbook board, private school’s can be subject to legal action if they use reading material outside of SNC without government approval.

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