The Pakistani government has announced that the study of Islamic studies will no longer be compulsory for Christian students and other non-Muslim students.
The Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training announced earlier this week that a new curriculum will be introduced during the 2024-2025 academic school year, making Islamic studies non-compulsory for Christian students.
According to International Christian Concern, students from first through 12th grade will soon be allowed to study the religion of their family.
The curriculum for Christian students includes a comprehensive study of the Bible, the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, core Christian beliefs, Church history, and a study of inspirational Christian figures.
Students will also study the influence of Christianity in Pakistan, specifically the ministry of St. Thomas the Apostle and his ministry to South Asia, Christian Daily reports.
This decision is a small win for religious freedom in Pakistan, where Christians are routinely subjected to blasphemy laws, mob violence, and forced marriage and conversion.
The new religious education curriculum, which was approved on January 22, creates education plans for seven minority religions in Pakistan, including Christianity, according to Catholic News Agency. The classes will be offered to non-Muslim students as alternatives to “Islamiat” classes, which are courses on Islam that had previously been required for all students.
The lesson plans for each of the religions were developed by religious education experts from those religions, according to a notification published by Pakistan’s Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training. The new curriculum will go into effect in the 2025 academic year.