LAHORE - The Punjab Education Department Committee, probing the Lahore Grammar School curriculum issue, submitted its report to the chief minister on Saturday with the recommendation to confiscate the science book, having chapters on sexual activities, which was being taught to the students of class seven.

The committee also recommended that an FIR should be lodged against the school for teaching obscene literature to the students of class seven.

The Lahore Grammar School (LGS-55 Main) is under fire nowadays after the reports appeared in the mainstream media that the school had abandoned the course of Islamiat (compulsory), besides teaching a book of science having chapters about sexual activities.

The school introduced a subject titled ‘Comparative Religion’ which, according to the school principal, aims to educate the students about Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism and Hinduism. The controversy also drew the government’s attention.

Punjab Education Minister Rana Mashhood, in a press conference on Friday, said, “The removal of the subject of compulsory Islamic studies from the curriculum of class six of LGS and its replacement with the subject of religious studies is tantamount to misleading and confusing the young generation with complexity of topics like comparative study of religions at such a lower level.” He was of the view that Article 25 of the Constitution was clear that no Pakistani citizen should be taught a religion other than his own.

On the issue, the LGS principal, in a message on LSG Facebook page, addressing the students, parents, faculty members and alumni says, “We must clarify what this subject (Comparative Religion) is and why we teach it. Our institution believes in inculcating values such as tolerance and empathy in all our students. Comparative Religion’ is essentially a history of religion. It is not merely comparing religions; we aim to educate our students about Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and Hinduism and their fundamental teachings. Doing so, we believe, will enlighten our students about the importance of peaceful coexistence.”

“Islam teaches us to broaden our minds; In fact, it asks us to seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave. Learning and understanding other religions and cultures will not and should not threaten our personal beliefs; rather it should strengthen them. We staunchly believe that this course helps develop better citizens, informed Muslims and enlightened Pakistanis who are secure about their identity,” the principal further says.

“The feedback from the two batches which have studied this course is overwhelming; students feel that the course reinforced and strengthened their religious convictions and has given them deeper insight into their own faith. Living in a diverse, pluralistic society such as ours, understanding others helps us get over our narrow prejudices which may often be rooted in ignorance. Students were astounded by the great similarities and commonalities between faiths and also identified differences that need to be understood and respected. It equipped them better to present their own faith with sound reasoning,” the principal says.

“We must also clarify that we have not abandoned teachings of Islamiat; we do so from classes 2-10 at the end of which, the students appear for the subject’s board exam,” the principal says.

Commenting on the issue, Government College University Vice-Chancellor Dr Khaleeq-ur-Rahman said the students of primary and secondary grades should not be taught comparative religions as they were not able to analyse the contents. He was of the view that the schools should not select such syllabus which could become a reason to confuse the students.

The provincial education minister, while talking to The Nation, said the government would not allow anyone to take youth hostage of foreign mindset by teaching them the material having topics against our social norms, values and religious beliefs. He said provocation of sexual sentiments was also a cognizable offence under sections 293 and 298 of Pakistan Penal Code and the government would take strict action on the issue.

The Cambridge Checkpoint Science Book II, which is being taught to class seven in LGS, is having obscene lessons in its chapter ‘Reproduction in Humans.’ On the page number 70 of the book, there is a lesson on ‘Sexual Intercourse.’ The chapter also includes lessons like ‘the path of sperm’, ‘the male reproductive organs’, the female reproductive organs’ and others.