One group has a tendency to use religion to destabilize the situation: the education minister

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Education Minister Mahibul Hasan Chowdhury said that if there is any controversy or confusion in the presentation of the public awareness lesson about the Hijra community in the textbook and experts think that some changes can be made. But he also reminded that there is a tendency to create anarchy or destabilize the situation at times by using religion or religious sentiments through a group in the country.

On Tuesday, the Ambassador of France met with Education Minister Mahibul Hasan Chowdhury at the Secretariat. Then the minister said all those things in response to the questions of the journalists.

In light of the new curriculum introduced last year, a chapter in the history and social science textbooks of class VII includes a public awareness lesson on the transgender community. There was a controversy about this last year as well. This time too the debate has started. The issue has come to the fore after an incident where a part-time teacher of BRAC University tore the pages of a book on this issue. The matter is now widely discussed on social media.

In response to journalists’ questions on this issue, Education Minister Mahibul Chowdhury said, “Whether a group in our country uses religion or religious sentiments, they have a tendency to create anarchy or destabilize the situation at various times.” It was last year too. One organization made some recommendations. They claimed that the term transgender is used here (in the book), which may cause confusion. They noticed that. But when we discussed the matter, we saw that the word is not transgender, but third gender. Those who are legally recognized as third gender for biological reasons or known as transgender in society as a whole. They are citizens of this country. Of course they have civic benefits.’

The Education Minister said, however, if the story has been presented in such a way, where there is an attempt to create such confusion or controversy, then the method of presentation of the story can be changed or not, it will be discussed with the experts. The main goal is empathy towards a population, they have civil rights, showing respect to everyone, if there is an opportunity to present it differently, the experts will discuss it and give an opinion. This is specialized. He (the minister) does not want to comment on this from a policy-making position.

The education minister said that the main issue is the third gender, which is also recognized by the state and is also part of international commitments. However, if there is any controversy or confusion in the presentation, some changes may be made, if the experts deem it necessary.

In response to the question of whether the new curriculum will be changed or not, the education minister said, “Changing the curriculum is not my sole concern.” Many experts, learning experts, pedagogues, content creators are involved in the curriculum. In that case it is not so easy to change whether I want or someone else wants. An outline of the curriculum. This is reflected through textbooks. If there are problems in the textbook, and if there are any problems in the assessment phase, then they must be changed. Every year there are some changes in the textbooks. But there is a difference between curriculum change and textbook change. If there is confusion in the presentation of textbooks, from sensitive topics, it can certainly be changed. But changes in education cannot be brought overnight.

Mahibul Hasan Chowdhury said, another thing is evaluation. The academic year has just begun. If there are any weaknesses and challenges in the assessment of the current system as given in textbooks, it will be seen in the days ahead. The first month of the academic year has not yet passed. Weaknesses should be identified in consultation with experts and teachers. If there is excessive criticism of this in the first month of the academic year, then it must be understood that there may be other motives here.

The Education Minister said, ‘We are not saying that nothing will change, certainly changes can come. Changes are coming to textbooks, assessment methods may be coming. Change is a natural process. But when the process starts, it will be understood. This work has been done as no such challenge has been seen in what has already been done experimentally. But it didn’t come overnight. Since 2017, the process has been determined in consultation with local and foreign experts.

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