Pervez Hoodbhoy in Dawn:
IMPLEMENTATION of the PTI’s Single National Curriculum has started in Islamabad’s schools and for students the human body is to become a dark mystery, darker than ever before. Religious scholars appointed as members of the SNC Committee are supervising the content of schoolbooks in all subjects including science. In the name of Islamic morality they have warned textbook publishers not to print any diagram or sketch in biology textbooks that show human figures “sans clothes”.
For the teaching of biology this surpasses existing de facto prohibitions on teaching evolution, the foundational principle of biological sciences. Illustrations are crucial to explain the digestive system (with both entrance and exit points) and human reproduction, as well as the mammary gland. Diagrams, sketches and human skeletal forms cannot be draped. Excluding these from schoolbooks reduces the teaching of biology to a farce.
Inhibitions about the human body, of course, have been around for much longer than SNC. It’s just that henceforth there will be still more. I have looked at a few biology textbooks published in past years by the Punjab and Sindh Textbook Boards and could not find meaningful accounts of mammalian organs and processes needed to sustain life on earth.
In one book from 1996 I did find a diagrammatised rabbit. But with essential parts fuzzed out, it is difficult to figure out whether it was male or female or the equipment that rabbits need to reproduce themselves. That someone should think an un-fuzzed diagram of this little animal would titillate students or stimulate promiscuous behaviour stumps me.