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Is the SNC designed to cater the needs of ReligIous Minorities in Pakistan?

The Single National Curriculum (SNC) was introduced in 2020 in Pakistan with the aim of providing all children “a fair and equal opportunity to receive high quality education.” The SNC attempts to bridge the social gaps between children through a common curriculum, medium of instruction, and mode of assessment. Therefore, on the surface level, the SNC seems to be the right step in terms of inclusivity for children. However, the highly Islamic nature of the SNC, and the fact that the Islamic Muttahida Ulema Board (MUB) had a major role in the review of the curriculum, means that the SNC creates greater disparity for religious minorities in Pakistan.

Before I start discussing the SNC and how it could impact religious minorities, let’s have a look at an example close to us. Each enrollment period at LUMS, we see posts on LDF about how students from non-Islamic faiths are force-enrolled in Islamic Studies. For each enrollment, they have to email the RO and go through the long process of wavering off the Islamic Studies requirement. If one of the most ‘inclusive’ universities in Pakistan treats religious minorities like this, what would happen under the SNC to religious minority students?

The SNC derives itself from the “teachings of Quran and Sunnah.” While Islamiat has been compulsory in the Pakistani curriculum for decades now, with non-Muslim students having the option to opt out, this new curriculum integrates Quranic material into other subjects, including English, Social Studies, History, etc., removing the opportunity for non-Muslim students to opt out. Therefore, for non-Muslim students, they have to constantly go through the content that disregards their religious beliefs, portraying only one Sunni-Islamic narrative to be the righteous one. Moreover, the illustrations in most SNC books support the Islamic notion that women must cover their heads. This adds to the non-stop discrimination that religious minorities face in Pakistan, where along with the constant physical threats, their children are now forced into a ‘learning’ environment that creates a clash between what they learn at home and what they learn in school. Upon backlash, the government proposed that non-Muslim students leave the classroom in case of Islamic teaching. However, this further widens the gap between Muslim and non-Muslim students, with religious minorities not getting the same opportunities as their counterparts.

Therefore, in an attempt to appease Islamic groups in Pakistan, the SNC has only increased intolerance towards religious minorities. When children are taught and shown that religious minorities are different and not worthy of the same treatment as Muslims, where are future generations headed in terms of religious tolerance?

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I have attached a page from an English textbook of the SNC. Firstly, at first this in no way looks like an english but an Islamic studies text book. Secondly, all students, including non-muslims, are required to write arabic next to the names of each of the caliphs. Lastly, it is outrageous that the government’s response has been to tell all non-Muslim students to leave the class during the lesson. How is this fair in any way?


Religious minorities already find it difficult to survive in Pakistan but when educational institutions promote such measures, like the single national curriculum does, it makes it difficult for them to progress in life. Since educational institutions play a major part in developing the thinking of these children, when a child belonging to a religious minority is singled out in school, it leads to intolerance which can be seen nowadays when people start beating up each other as their religious ideas do not align. Rather than the SNC promoting hardcore religious values, perhaps it should try to broaden other aspects and acknowledge that people from different religions exist in Pakistan. This might lessen religious intolerance.


In an effort to foster unity and lessen the likelihood of internal conflict, nations frequently employ curricula as a tool for nation building. Pakistan has also experienced this. As an illustration, consider how children are taught in Urdu nationwide even though less than 10% of Pakistanis speak it as their mother tongue. The promotion of a national identity that resembles a certain ethnicity has caused many ethnic groups to feel discriminated against, which is one way that this imposition of a national identity has imploded. As a result, rather than succeeding in their intended aim of bringing people together, such curriculum have simply served to widen existing gaps. Conflict has resulted from this split, which has also been caused by…

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