70,000 new Arabic language teachers have been hired in Punjab to lead compulsory teaching of the Holy Quran in all schools of the province for grades 1-5.
The proposal, which was submitted by the School Education Department of the Punjab Government (SED), was approved by Chief Minister Usman Buzdar.
Officials from the SED reported that 7,000 Arabic teachers are being trained in the first phase, while an additional 60,000 teachers are still required throughout the province.
Earlier this year, the SED issued official guidance requiring district education authorities to visit all schools in their respective areas, including public and private schools, as well as madrassahs, to ensure that the Holy Quran was being taught as its own subject. Following this directive, three school principals in Nankana Sahib were recommended for disciplinary action for improperly teaching the Holy Quran.
Enhanced teaching of the Holy Quran and Islamiat is being implemented nationally as part of the the Single National Curriculum (SNC), a cornerstone of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s administration that was launched in August 2021. Similarly, the Lahore High Court reaffirmed the Punjab Compulsory Teaching of Holy Quran Act 2018 in December 2020.
Education advocates have raised concerns about the availability of Arabic teachers across Pakistan and language activists have argued that the SNC should prioritize instruction in local Pakistani languages, as well.