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Dhaka Tribune

Education ministry forms high-level expert committee to review Sharifa's story

  • The five-member committee 
  • Will help the NCTB to review the issue in depth
Update : 24 Jan 2024, 11:52 PM

The Ministry of Education has formed a five-member high-level expert committee to review "The Story of Sharifa", in the seventh-grade history and social science textbook which has sparked nationwide discussions and criticism. 

The committee will help the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) by reviewing the story in depth, according to a notice issued by the ministry on Wednesday. 

Islamic Arabic University Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Abdur Rashid has been made the convener of the committee. 

The other members of the committee are Islamic Foundation Governor Mufti Maulana Kafil Uddin Sarker, NCTB Member Mashiuzzaman, Dhaka University IER Director Dr Md Abdul Halim, and Dhaka Alia Madrasa Principal Prof Mohammad Abdur Rashid.

The committee will make recommendations to the NCTB, the notice added. 

A chapter called “The Story of Sharifa,” featuring a transgender character, in the textbook previously sparked debate, and currently, some are protesting over its content. 

The Story of Sharifa,  History and Social Science book, class 7. Photo: Collected

Earlier, Education Minister Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury Nowfel said: “If there were any controversies or confusions in the presentation of the story in the textbook, some changes could be made.”

He also said: “There is a tendency in the country to create unstable situations using religion by a certain group.”

Regarding the controversy over the Sharifa's Tale, the minister said: “We will discuss this with the colleagues of the NCTB. If there is a reaction to the story, we need to investigate why it is happening.”

“We will discuss the matter of that Brac teacher with Brac University,” said Mohibul Hasan, adding: “We will find out what happened through the University Grants Commission. We have seen a video on social media.”

The debate deepened further after Brac University on Sunday terminated the services of a teacher for criticizing the incorporation of transgender issues in the textbook of the new curriculum.

Asif Mahtab, who was sacked as an adjunct faculty at the Philosophy Department of the university, on Monday told journalists that the authorities terminated him and asked him not to come to the university “without assigning any reason.” 

The university authorities, on Sunday night, told him verbally that they would not renew their contract with him, Mahtab added.

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