It is an unfortunate testament of the times, that the least well-informed and most intellectually unsound have started to dictate the future course of education for our younger generation. Starting with the host's personal experiences of "parenting", and quickly turning into a lynching of a private school, a television personality on Tuesday made every effort to portray modern classrooms as dens of lasciviousness, rather than places of learning. Offended that impressionable young minds were being taught ‘obscene’ subjects, such as the reproductive process in science, the show would have been comical, had the host’s indignation not been designed to inspire perceived offence. And successfully done so.

Moving on to a series of calls, overwrought parents were invited to chime in with their troubled opinions. The subject under fire for this segment was Comparative Religion. While these parents took the opportunity to obfuscate, protest and generally express their disdain for the new course, they were swift to point out that they themselves were entirely respectful of faiths other than Islam – apparently, as long as they weren’t being taught to their children.

If one is to attempt to parse the meaning of the show host’s complaints fairly, it would appear that he insists on religious education being imparted without fail in private schools, as a course subject. Each student to study their own religion, and no other. Well and good. But what of religious texts sprinkled in compulsory history and literature textbooks, that are not necessarily pertinent to schoolchildren not of the Muslim faith? Is their right to a religious education in keeping with their beliefs not be protected? Had the host championed the restriction of religious education to only religious textbooks, perhaps he might have made more sense. Perhaps.

The second complaint, that the content of Science books, printed by the Cambridge school system; and in particular, the chapter about reproduction, was not suitable for children of that age, could also have been made with more grace, and with less plainly evidenced intention to cause mischief. It is worth asking what makes the host an authority on age-appropriate education? Why should a Cambridge experts’ assessment of the capability of a sixth-grader be questioned by a person with no experience in the field of education? Inciting fear that a scientific study of human biology is somehow the path to moral decreptitude can only be interpreted as a pitiful indictment of the talkshow host’s own state of mind. The implication that teaching Comparative Religion will undermine the moral fabric of society is an incorrect and irresponsible stoking of deeply sensitive religious sentiment. The host’s supercilious advice to the Principal of the school in question, “Don’t try to live on an island,” ought to be correctly interpreted as intimidation, and action taken against it as an incitement to violence.

The host’s protests, inspired more by a desire to titillate than anything else, have woefully been found worthy of inspection by the Punjab Education Minister. Pandering to an audience whose misdirected emotions have been deliberately riled, Rana Mashood’s statement that “obscene content would be removed from the syllabus” only reflects his ignorance of the issue. One wonders if the Minister has perused the books in question. It would be particularly worrying if the Punjab Education Minister’s delicate constitution was unable to tolerate lessons found appropriate for an eleven year old.

The Chief Minister Punjab must step in, and stop this juvenile moral superiority contest, and instruct his ministers to be less susceptible to suggestion, by talkshow hosts who sell holy water sherbet on the side. Moral policing being imparted on television, and making its effect felt in the classroom with the government's help, is an ignoble prize for the PMLN to have won. The quality of political talent hosted by the party also comes into question, seeing the blusterous response by Rana Mashood to blatant provocation from a source of dubious professional credibility.