IMPACT-se researches school textbooks, teachers’ guides, and curricula to assess whether young people are being educated to accept Others—be it their neighbors, minorities and even their nation’s enemies, and to solve conflicts through negotiation and compromise while rejecting hatred and violence.
This new IMPACT-se report evaluates changes made in the Qatari fall semester textbooks for 2021–22. The report found that the Qatar curriculum continues a trend of slow improvement since our reports in August 2020 and June 2021, by removing additional disturbing and unacceptable passages previously criticized in IMPACT-se’s reports. However, passages that demonize Jews, praise martyrdom, and blame holy faiths for corrupting holy texts remain. Although some changes are suggestive of positive movement, a great deal of improvement is necessary to align the curriculum with international standards of Peace and Tolerance. Report
This latest IMPACT-se report on the Saudi Curriculum shows further dramatic improvements to Saudi Arabia’s school textbooks, continuing the significant changes seen in mid-2020 and documented in IMPACT-se’s last Saudi textbook report. Over the last year, textbooks have been moderated in several key areas. The greatest changes have been made to lessons dealing with Jews, Christians, non-believers, and violent jihad; twenty-eight lessons featuring demonization of the Other and religious intolerance were removed or heavily modified. While problematic material remains in Saudi textbooks, these represent profound changes in these categories. Sept 2021 Report
This IMPACT-se report continues to focus on Qatar’s school curriculum for grades 1–12. It has been updated in conjunction with the London-based think tank, Henry Jackson Society and a foreword by Dr. David Roberts of King’s College London. The study assesses over 314 textbooks, building upon previous IMPACT-se research within the prism of UNESCO standards and other UN and international declarations, recommendations and documents relating to education for peace and tolerance. Our review determined that the Qatari curriculum does not yet meet those international standards. As highlighted in the foreword, the curriculum reflects in many ways, the same overall tension facing Qatar’s leadership—between Qatar’s Islamist affinities and its desire to be seen as an open, neutral and progressive leader in the Arabian Gulf. Textbooks teach Qatari children to accept others different than themselves and advocate for peace—at the same time echoing antisemitic canards and reinforcing the Qatari regime’s support for Islamist terror organizations. While the curriculum emphasizes nationalist identities over tribal affiliations, it is also influenced by pan-Islamic and pan-Arab nationalism as well as elements of Salafism and the Muslim Brotherhood. Despite a slight movement away from radical jihadism, much remains. Nevertheless, Qatar’s curriculum remains heavily influenced by Western educators—displaying the Qatari gift for embracing contradictions. 2021 Report
This updated May 2021 IMPACT-se study analyzed textbooks used for the 2020-21 Palestinian curriculum (West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and UNRWA) and includes selected examples from the research of 222 textbooks. Of those, 105 textbooks have not changed at all and remain as they were in 2019. Essentially, there were that no substantive positive changes made to the current Palestinian curriculum. Textbooks remain openly antisemitic and continue to encourage violence, jihad and martyrdom while peace is still not taught as preferable or even possible. Based on IMPACT-se’s UNESCO-derived standards of peace and tolerance, our findings show that the new PA curriculum does not meet these international standards and in some cases have even added more problematic content, compared to the previous curriculum. Selected ExamplesChanges
The Ansar Allah Houthis, have penetrated the mainstream Yemeni education system as part of a campaign to spread their influence over the region. This exclusive IMPACT-se report reviews materials produced by the Houthis for use in its network of summer camps and extra-curricular classes as well as take-home materials including a monthly children’s “educational” magazine called Jihad. As an Iranian proxy, the Houthi materials mimic much of the Khomeinist rhetoric of that regime and represent some of the more egregious violations of UNESCO standards of peace and tolerance among current Middle Eastern education. The report offers a worrying insight into the violent Houthi mindset and extreme example of how education can be weaponized to perpetuate conflict. Report
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made significant changes to Turkey’s state-approved school textbooks since taking power in 2003. This report is the fourth undertaken by IMPACT-se into the Turkish curriculum. We have identified a marked deterioration in Turkish textbooks since our last review in 2016, in regards to meeting UNESCO defined standards of peace and tolerance. On the contrary, textbooks have been weaponized in Erdogan’s efforts to Islamize Turkish society and to hark back to a nostalgic age of Turkish domination. The Islamization of the curriculum is a direct attempt to shape future generations to fit in with his grand narrative of an Islamic/pan-Turkish revival. March 2021 ReportExec Summary
IMPACT-se’s extensive research of PA school textbooks has consistently shown a systematic insertion of violence, martyrdom and jihad across all grades and subjects, with the proliferation of extreme nationalism and Islamist ideologies throughout the curriculum. Yet, it is this material that is taught in UNRWA-run schools throughout the Palestinian Territories of the Gaza Strip and West Bank as well as Jerusalem. Our research shows that UNRWA, as a UN organization, knowingly produces and teaches material in its Gaza Strip and West Bank schools that are rife with problematic content that contradicts stated UN values. Although UNRWA has claimed in the past that it has devised a methodology to isolate and address problematic content it has not demonstrated how the issue is addressed. UNRWA’s lack of transparency to address such problematic issues make it impossible to evaluate the effectiveness of any efforts it claims to have made. Updated Research of post-November material shows hate remains. January 2021 (Original) Report
This follow-up report of Saudi 2020–21 textbooks by IMPACT-se shows that while many problematic examples have been removed from the curriculum, some still remain. The removal of the problematic content however, should certainly be seen as a significant improvement and an encouraging development, representing a step toward moderation. Our sense is that the Saudi kingdom, along with some other countries in the region, is gradually moving in a direction that could bring it in line with UNESCO-derived standards of peace and tolerance—contingent on whether the remaining issues are addressed. Report
This preliminary IMPACT-se report focuses on the United Arab Emirates’ “Moral Education” curriculum, taught in all Emirates public and private schools, from grades 1-12. The research looked at the textbooks and teacher guides that make up the “Character and Morality” section of the UAE curriculum, measured against IMPACT-se’s UNESCO-derived standards of peace and tolerance. While the current research covers only this limited spectrum of the UAE curriculum, it is noteworthy that the content goes a long way to incorporate the values of peace and tolerance into a traditional education system. As such, this stand-alone course is unique in the region and may reflect UAE’s emerging leadership in the reform of textbooks. Preliminary Report
IMPACT-se’s interim review of 238 textbooks of the Qatari curriculum for the calendar years 2016-20, used international standards based on UNESCO and UN declarations and other recommendations and documents on education for peace and tolerance. The curriculum appears to be in in a change-mode, moving in a direction from jihadi radicalism toward open engagement with the world. While somewhat less radical than previous versions, the process of moderation is in its infancy. Some particularly offensive material has been removed after decades of radical propaganda in Qatari schools, but while heavily influenced by Western educators, serious issues remain regarding peace and tolerance. Interim ReportExec SumCentrality of Antisemitism in the Qatari CurriculumProblematic Content in the Qatari Curriculum_Selected Examples
This interim report on Saudi Arabia’s national curriculum covers 2016–19 textbooks, analyzed by IMPACT-se’s UNESCO-derived standards of peace and tolerance. The Saudi curriculum, at this stage, should be viewed as a reflection of the efforts being made to transform an exclusively traditionalist Islamic society into one that incorporates more Western economic values and its pre-Islamic heritage. However, while the curriculum tries to evolve with such inherent contradictory elements, the radical orthodoxy of the Wahhabis remains dominant. The narrowing of the gap between the kingdom’s modernization goals and their practical application—both within the curriculum and throughout Saudi society—is in the beginning stages of a work in progress. Interim ReportExecutive Summary
This report studies the twenty-six tests comprising the Palestinian 2019 Tajihi Matriculation Exam which tests grade 12 material from the Palestinian curriculum. The exam was analyzed according to IMPACT-se’s UNESCO-derived standards to research peace and tolerance in school education and compared it with the relevant textbooks and content from the PA curriculum that students needed to memorize for the exam. IMPACT-se’s finding is that many of the final exams are so designed that students must study problematic content that does not meet international standards for peace and tolerance. ReportExec Summary
This updated report includes selected examples from research by IMPACT-se on the new Palestinian school curriculum for the 2019–20 academic year. The curriculum has been released over the past four school years, beginning with grades 1–4 (2016–17) and the twelfth grade books finally available for the 2018–19 term. Additionally, the includes examples from new chapters added to the 2019–20 academic year textbooks. Selected Examples
The article describes the peace and conflict educational approaches found in the Jewish-Israeli curricula between the years 2000–2017, and extracts the dominant themes and messages towards Muslim, Arab and Palestinian “others.” The study follows 123 textbooks recommended by the Israeli Ministry of Education for grades 7–12 of the Jewish state and state-religious sectors for the 2000–19 academic years. The academic subjects or disciplines represented in the study include history, geography, civics (Jewish) religious studies, and Hebrew language and literature studies. Study findings indicate that current Israeli textbooks do not contain any overt racism or incitement against Palestinians. However, ethnocentric perceptions and victim mentality are two themes that still dominate curricular discourse and are counterproductive to peace education goals. Additionally, the paucity of Palestinian narratives is another potential hurdle to achieving peace education goals. Complete Study
A report on selected positive content about peace, relations with Israel, and Jewish historical presence previously in the Palestinian school curriculum between 2000 and 2016, and subsequently removed from the restructured 2016–19 curriculum. Although some of the positive examples were removed even before 2016, the “new” PA curriculum represents a quantum leap backward toward radicalizing the textbooks–and unfortunately–Palestinian children. Report
A quantitative analysis of textbooks from the current Palestinian Ministry of Education curriculum, applying UNESCO-derived standards of peace and tolerance. All 2019-20 textbooks for the first semester were analyzed. Additionally, in this report, we define Problematic Content as: violent connotations, incitement to violence, hatred of the Other, and radical, inappropriate or disturbing content. The accompanying graph from the report displays by grade, the number of violent references included in each textbook. Report
Jordan’s new curriculum derives from the principles formulated in the Amman Message of 2004. In this report IMPACT-se evaluates a range of topics: moderating the education of Islam for students (with emphasis on diversity and openness); layers of national identity; the idea of good citizenship, which includes gender, economic and environmental responsibility; Jordan’s approach toward the West Bank and the Palestinians; unresolved internal conflict toward its peace with Israel and compassion toward the disadvantaged. ReportExec Summary
The Kurdish textbooks appear at first glance to be simple and straightforward, no more than very little elective training in a minority population’s mother tongue. They are not. Both implicitly and explicitly the books include much material that strengthens conscious Kurdish identity . . . a conversation about this curriculum is worthwhile because the question of Kurdish education in Turkey remains unanswered. ReportExecutive Summary
This booklet suggests Wasatia Education for the Palestinian educational system using the methodologies of both IMPACT-se and the WASATIA Academic Institute. It explores the present Palestinian school textbooks and identifies areas where the curriculum incites, demonizes and delegitimizes the Other while proposing concepts and values to allow for a future of coexistence, tolerance and prosperity. For peace to take place between Palestinians and Israelis, it is essential that the new generation is taught the values of moderation, reconciliation, mediation, conflict resolution, peace, empathy, tolerance, common ethical values, and democracy, and to instill in them the spirit of applying these values in their daily lives. Digital FormatBooklet Format
IMPACT-se’s latest research on the new Palestinian curriculum for the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem includes recently published textbooks for the 2018-19 school year. The curriculum presents a common radical voice accommodating the full spectrum of extreme nationalist and Islamist ideologies in both Gaza and the West Bank, including anti-Semitic motifs amid themes of continuous struggle, heroism and martyrdom. Full ReportFindings and Analysis
For seven consecutive years a brutal civil war has been raging in Syria. From a comparatively stable, secular and authoritarian Arab country, Syria has turned into one of the cruelest and most violent flashpoints on earth.This study of the Syrian curriculum examines the updated 2017–18 education contents in the areas controlled by the Assad regime while the civil war continues to rage. It offers a unique look at a people in the midst of a mortal crisis. Full ReportExecutive Summary
With the first full reform of the Palestinian curriculum since 2000, IMPACT-se, in its second of three reports, covers sixty-six textbooks from the new PA curriculum of 2017–18 for Grades 5–11. Further research will provide a full assessment of the new curriculum covering Grades 1–12. The crux of this report is education for war and against peace with Israel, demonstrating that the curriculum has further distanced itself from our UNESCO-derived standards of peace and tolerance. Selected Examples (Updated)
IMPACT-se researches 93 textbooks used in the Haredi curricula to promote a unique and separate cultural identity, keeping contact with mainstream Israeli culture to a minimum. While it fails to meet all of the UNESCO standards, Haredi education as a whole offers some unique characteristics and advantages that are worthwhile examining.
This IMPACT-se report examines the 2016–17 Palestinian Authority school curriculum, focusing on elementary school grades 1-4. There is a comparison with upper grade student learning. The results point to instruction that is significantly more radical than previous curricula. To a greater extent than the 2014–15 textbooks, the curriculum teaches students to be expendable martyrs, rejects negotiations, demonizes and denies the existence of Israel and focuses on a “return” to an exclusively Palestinian homeland.
In July 2015, protesters throughout Turkey burned China’s flag, along with effigies of the late Chinese leader Mao Zedong. On the same day, a group of Turkish Ultra-nationalists and Islamists gathered in central Istanbul to protest the alleged restrictions on Uyghur religious freedom in China.
This well-timed report monitors Turkish school textbooks published since the AKP’s (Justice and Development Party) rise to power from 2002–15, with special emphasis on recent years (2013–15). The report examined 117 school textbooks covering subjects in the humanities, science, religious instruction and civics.
This timely report updates Impact’s analysis of the current Israeli educational curriculum, particularly as it relates to the Palestinian people and the Palestinian educational process. It is based on the review of 123 state and state-religious textbooks, which were approved and recom- mended by the Israeli Ministry of Education through the 2017 school year.
Between 2012-16 IMPACT-se revisited Iranian school textbooks, and prepared this latest report reflecting new developments in Iranian education. The Iranian education curriculum includes a long list of troubling, sometimes paradoxical features, offering insight into a nation preparing its population — starting with its children — for an imminent apocalyptic battle with the world’s “oppressors.”
This IMPACT-se report revisits the Palestinian Authority school curriculum, which is perhaps the chief expression of Palestinian cultural independence. The report covers the main findings of our 2011 report as well as some current observations up to and including, the 2015–16 “Knife Intifada.” Major findings include some positives: civil and gender issues, care for the environment, respect for the internal Other (disabled, authority figures, elderly) and the Muslim/Arab Other (collaboration with Arab countries). Vilification of the West is widespread but not to the point of violence. More troubling from the perspective of Israeli- Palestinian peace is what can aptly be called a “Guerrilla Curriculum.”
The report surveys Islamic Studies curricula studied in The United States and Canada. Four out of the five curricula are published in the United States; one is published in Saudi Arabia for teaching in North America. Other than the latter curriculum, our main conclusion overall is that Muslim education in North America includes many positive elements, is flexible and generally tolerant. They contain a clear “us versus them” paradigm that rejects materialism, secular or liberal Islam. The materials demonstrate a respect for Christians and Jews but show hostility to Israel and distort the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including instances of erasing Israel from maps.
Dr. Yohanan Manor revisits the Egyptian curriculum of the Mubarak era and convincingly demonstrates how years of Islamist mass education (featuring jihad and anti-Christian teachings) thwarted a smooth transformation to democracy in Egypt.
Education has an extremely long impact and religious education even more so. The influence of education lasts for generations. A new study conducted at IMPACT-se examines The Biblical Saga of Jacob and Esau as a case study of a long-lasting educational text. The study demonstrates that this particular Biblical text positively influenced the relations between two neighboring Middle Eastern peoples for a millennium.
This IMPACT-se study analyzes the attitude of Israel’s education system towards the Palestinian people and nationality, and towards the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. It is based on the review of 149 state and state-religious textbooks, which were approved and recommended by the Israeli Ministry of Education for 2009-2012. Full Report: EnglishHebrewArabicExec Sum: EnglishArabic