Off-curriculum extremism


Okaz newspaper

MANY people call for modifying the curriculum as a solution to put an end to extremism. While we move toward reforming curriculum, such a trend is no less important than restricting teachers to stick to what is in the curriculum and not to evoke personal ideas and beliefs into classrooms to influence students.

We all heard stories that were used indirectly as educational tools to scare and discipline students. Some use personal judgment to try and deliver the message in a simpler way, or in religious subjects for behavioral education out of ijtihad (scientific inquiry).

Ijtihad is not bad by itself, especially if the teacher wants to expand on a subject and get the most out of it, unless he tries to change values and ideas through manipulation to poison the minds of children with false judgments and instill fear in them. Then it is "off-curriculum extremism". It is no less dangerous than other factors that evoked extremism in schools.

Therefore it is vital for the Ministry of Education to restrict teachers to the curriculum without diverting or interpreting the syllabus according to personal beliefs, ideas and thoughts. We shouldn’t wait until the problem reaches our children and then face the trouble of fixing it.