Saudi’s Curriculum of Intolerance Teaching Children
Eman al Nafjan writes in Foreign Policy about Saudi Arabia’s tainted curriculum that breeds intolerance in its children. Although the Education Ministry responded to the first round of similar criticism by removing teachers it deemed extremist from classrooms, Nafjan says the problem is in the textbooks themselves. “In the 2010-2011 academic year, the new first-grade jurisprudence book condemned saying hello to non-Muslims,” she writes, and new interpretations in boys’ 10th-grade hadith books introduced propaganda against the West. Nafjan references a study that was conducted last year that found that Saudi religion textbooks “have focused far too much on the lowest educational and skill objectives, such as rote memorization and classification, and neglected entirely the objectives of analysis, problem-solving, and critical thinking,” leading to “passiveness and negativity.”
However, despite promises from the Education Ministry to once again revise the curriculum, those changes have yet to be seen. Additionally, Nadjan argues, “education reform in Saudi Arabia is not simply a matter of revising textbooks. It’s a matter of changing the minds of whole generations.” The children who have been taught these intolerances will one day pass it down to their children.