Islamic State Iraq
A fighter from the Islamic State mans an anti-aircraft gun mounted on the rear of a vehicle in Mosul Reuters

Islamic State (IS) militants have issued a new set of retrograde academic guidelines as schools reopened in cities controlled by the jihadist group in Syria and Iraq.

According to a new curriculum imposed in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, art and music are now banned subjects and all classes about history, literature and Christianity have been cancelled.

Teachers and pupils are ordered to avoid any reference to the republics of Iraq or Syria, as the region should be now called Islamic State.

Although not previously taught in Iraqi schools, Charles Darwin's theory of evolution is also explicitly banned and so are patriotic songs and textbook photos deemed offensive to Islam.

The new rules have been laid out in a two-page bulletin that was nailed to the wall in public spaces across the city, which fell to the group previously known as Isis in June.

The document says that the school programme was drafted by IS's leader, the self-styled caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, with the aim to "eliminate ignorance, to spread religious sciences and to fight the decayed curriculum."

It implements a strictly gender-segregated system, with male teachers teaching at boys' schools, and female educators teaching girls.

The bulletin warns that its provision are binding and "anyone who acts against it will face punishment."

However some local residents told AP they were not sending their children to school as they preferred them to be educated at home.

"They will brainwash them and contaminate their thoughts," a Mosul resident who gave only his nickname of Abu Hassan said.

"What's important to us now is that the children continue receiving knowledge correctly, even if they lose a whole academic year and an official certification."

For a local take on the Isis curriculum and what it means, click on the analysis piece from IBT's Isis expert Zaid al-Fares here.

Meanwhile diplomats from almost 40 countries have gathered in Paris to agree a common strategy against the group that beheaded two American journalists and one British aid worker in recent weeks.