Social media uproar over unlawful delay, hijacking of English XII textbook, demand judicial inquiry

KARACHI: In a development raising eyebrows across educational circles, the Sindh Textbook Board (STBB) finds itself embroiled in controversy over the delayed publication of the Class XII English textbook. While the Class XI textbook was successfully published in 2021, the eagerly anticipated follow-up for Class XII, scheduled for release the following year, remains conspicuously absent from shelves. Social media uproar over the unlawful delay and hijacking of the English XII textbook has led to demands for a judicial inquiry.

Sources told the Daily News that the delay stems from violations of established protocols. The new textbook has reportedly been written and is ready for publication. However, the STBB, still under the influence of the caretaker government, has yet to release it to the public. Allegedly, officers within the STBB illegally engaged a private organization to write the textbook, bypassing the authors initially notified for the task. The manuscript, already completed and submitted by the designated authors, was intended for the requisite internal and external reviews. Instead, the STBB purportedly sidestepped this process, opting to involve the private organization.

Further complicating the issue, sources indicate that the controversy’s roots trace back to the intervention of the Caretaker Minister for Education. The first draft of the book was completed in 2023. Despite lacking the authority or mandate to pick up the initial draft from STBB before its finalization or at least an internal review, she handed the project over to SPELT. This organization created a fresh version of the book without prior consent from the concerned counterparts, solely based on the minister’s directions.

On the other hand, Dr. Muhammad Khan Sangi and his team raised their concerns with Syed Sardar Ali Shah, complaining about the discrepancies and seeking support from  SPLA- Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association. Consequently, the Regional President SPLA Hyderabad also wrote to the minister, urging the production of the original book developed by Dr. Sangi and his team.

Amidst mounting scrutiny, stakeholders are calling for a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the delayed publication and the alleged irregularities in the selection of the textbook’s authors. Concerns persist regarding the impact of such actions on educational standards and the integrity of the curriculum. As the controversy unfolds, educators, students, and the public at large eagerly await clarity and accountability from the authorities involved in ensuring the timely and equitable provision of educational resources.

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