Newton in a dupatta?! Twitter reacts to PCTB’s reviews over science textbooks

“…if you see Sir Isaac Newton wearing a dupatta in your child’s Science textbook, now you will know whom to thank.” Dr Ayesha Razzaque

Mahnoor Jalal

Mahnoor Jalal

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Now it seems like even the most common known science education fifth graders are taught is not safe from being banned for spreading “vulgarity”. Just yesterday, an article published in The News by Dr. Ayesha Razzaque spoke to publishers about the review and approval process of textbooks through the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board. One publisher recalled a remark on a science textbook in which one of the pictures depicted Sir Isaac Newton sitting under a tree, and the comment was that the “lady” in the picture must be re-edited to add a scarf on her head in order to observe purdah.

Amongst this horrific revelation the article also elaborated on the long process of reviews to be done by three committee’s under the board, which included the Muttahid Ulema Board. It also pointed out that now the PTCB board had decided to disallow the teaching of computer studies, art, music, hand writing, drama etc. Their reasoning?:
“You will overburden children. The SNC prepared by the government is a well-balanced curriculum and enough for children at the primary level.”

When the article reached social media, the revelation about Isaac Newton’s picture triggered a conversation regarding censorship and moral policing. Twitter users were questioning how children books were now being brought under such a microscopic lens that even a man wearing a wig can cause those sitting in the highest government positions to misinterpret it as spreading vulgarity!

Meesha Shafi was among the twitter users who pointed out how basic critical thinking skills are lacking among us that now even fourth grade science cannot be approved without triggering such issues about “vulgarity”: