06 February 2017

Bangladesh's secular activists concerned about textbook changes

Bangladesh's education ministry has removed some secular poems and stories from children's textbooks following requests by Islamists. Expert Rasheda Choudhury says the government is trying to appease Islamists.

n an unexpected move, Bangladesh's education ministry has made some major changes to the Bengali language textbooks that are taught in the South Asian country's schools and Islamic seminaries. For instance, poems and stories penned by non-Muslim writers have been removed, and the pictures of girls in traditional clothes have been replaced with the ones in Islamic attire.

Local media reported that Hefazat-e-Islam, an Islamist organization, had demanded the government to make the changes to the school books. The group, which seeks to implement Shariah or the Islamic religious law in the country, has vowed to bring more radical changes to the education system in the coming years.

Rasheda K. Choudhury, a Bangladeshi rights activist and educationist, believes the ruling Awami League party is trying to appease Islamists to increase its vote bank in the 2019 general elections. [Deutsche Welle] Read more