In a controversial move, the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board (PCTB) has reportedly ceased the printing of Quranic Chapters (Siparas) for students in grades one through five, sparking concerns among educators and religious publishers.
This decision comes despite the distribution of over 7.9 million Quranic Chapters to students across Punjab last year.
The halt in printing is attributed to a lack of funds, a claim that has raised eyebrows among stakeholders. Last year, the board incurred expenses of approximately Rs. 1.5 billion for the publication of Quranic Chapters.
Reports claim that the PCTB, citing financial constraints, has decided not to publish the Quranic Chapters for the upcoming academic year 2024-2025.
In addition to this, there is a proposal to reduce the size of textbooks, a move that is seen as a cost-cutting measure.
The final approval of these decisions is pending, with summaries sent to the Secretary of Education and the Chief Secretary for review.
The Chairman of the Quran Publishers Association of Pakistan, Syed Ahsan Mahmood Shah, and other notable figures like President Qudratullah and Patron-in-Chief Hafiz Al-Barakat Shah have strongly criticized the PCTB’s decision. They deem it inappropriate and illegal, urging the Punjab government to reverse this decision.
In response to these developments, the Chairman of the Punjab Quran Board, Maulana Hafiz Fazl Rahim, has written to the Chief Minister of Punjab, seeking intervention in this matter.
He emphasized that no official directive has been received from the government regarding the permanent discontinuation of the Quranic Chapters’ publication.
This decision has raised concerns about the impact on Quranic education in public schools across Punjab, with many fearing that it could significantly affect the religious education of young students. The issue remains unresolved, awaiting further action from the Punjab government.