NCTB: Textbook changes must be backed by science

Homosexuality should not be promoted in curriculum, but issue of transgender people is socially accepted here, NCTB chair says

The new textbooks for school students must not promote any kind of discrimination, but the authorities will not make any changes that are based purely on personal beliefs, National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) officials have said.

Any corrections to the books must be backed by science, they added.

Under a pilot of the new curriculum, the new textbooks were introduced at 62 educational institutions across the country, including 51 secondary schools, nine madrasas and two technical institutes. Following the success of the pilot, the government began implementing the new curriculum at all schools from the sixth and seventh grades from the first day of the new year.

NCTB Member (Curriculum) Prof Moshiuzzaman recently told Dhaka Tribune: “We will accept or ignore corrections after reviewing them. If someone suggests a correction based on their personal beliefs but it is not scientifically correct, then we will not change anything.”

He made the remarks when asked about complaints from some Islamist leaders and netizens that religious teachings were absent from the books and the social science books of grades six and seven were promoting a “controversial history".

Prof Moshiuzzaman further said: “Transgender people are alienated from our society, so we included them in the curriculum to ensure that our students learn to treat transgender people as human beings. I do not know if there is any different interpretation of this from a religious point of view.”

Asked about the same matter, Deputy Education Minister Barrister Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury Nowfel told Dhaka Tribune: “Religious books contain religious content. We cannot put religious content in books that are meant to teach Bangla, English, or other subjects.”

On the issue of homosexuality, NCTB Chairman Prof Md Farhadul Islam said: “Homosexuality is not legal in Bangladesh, so why should we promote the subject in the curriculum? However, the issue of transgender people is socially accepted here.”

He also stressed that the books were still in the experimental phase and that changes would be made after considering the opinions of all stakeholders.

Furthermore, the NCTB chairman said the government was staying alert to any false propaganda over the textbooks that may be spread to discredit the new syllabus.