The controversial curriculum
IN the past, multiple experiments were carried out by various regimes including those of Ayub, Bhutto, Zia and Musharraf to reform poor education system of Pakistan.
Deplorably, no earnest and pragmatic measures were taken to actually deliberate and discover the dominant pitfalls and hazards in this noble sector.
Provision of quality education to the students has been the dream in this land of pure since its creation.
It is an established fact that when an important sector of education of any country falls a prey to the evil machinations and indifference of its government, it leaves the disastrous impacts in that society.
Following the suit, Prime Minister Khan precipitously launched Single National Curriculum to ameliorate our rotten education system by alleviating existing curriculums’ incongruities between public and private schools.
After a successful completion of its three years, to manifest its rapid progress and fulfilment of its covenants, PTI government is now entirely focused to deliver in remaining two years what it had vowed public support for upcoming general election (2023) during election campaign.
Although, SNC contains various advantages yet it is being criticized heavily by educationists, analysts and thinkers for it is fraught with myriads of flaws.
In the contemporary era, the socio-economic and political development of any country is directly linked to the propagation of education at a large-scale.
Unfortunately, in Pakistan, the government allocates only up to 2.5% of budget for education and is intransigently imposing SNC while neglecting the other important areas that need full attention.
A new curriculum development is indubitably a lengthy process that requires services from the experts working in the fields. Imagine a curriculum designed by inexperts and then imposed hurriedly, how it will transform the existing education system.
Federal government is of the view that SNC will end “education apartheid” but to my great surprise, how this government can act insanely and erroneously equating reduction in curriculum disparities to overall education uplift. Beyond SNC imposition, inequalities still persist in many areas.
How can SNC bring public schools to the level of the elitist private schools providing best learning environment alongside all other educational facilities which public schools entirely lack. It seems so hard bringing all such disparities to an end by merely launching the SNC.
This wide gulf will continuously exist until the government takes some concrete measures to make structural and infrastructural changes in the existing systems and concentrates on improving learning standards in public schools.
This scribe believes that provision of all facilities and best learning environment at public schools and Madaris by government is more significant than this false ostentation of SNC.
As per latest authentic reports, 48% schools in Pakistan are deprived of basic facilities including toilets, clean drinking water, electric lights, fans, white boards and proper buildings. More than 50% public schools lack playgrounds.
How students can absorb and learn a new curriculum under such tough situations. These are some neglected areas, government needs to focus and improve first than launching SNC.
Diversity of curriculum is the essence of learning at various education levels. It provides learners with an opportunity to acquire variety of knowledge by not confining to a uniform syllabus.
It also urges students to keep pace with the changing international educational trends by studying multiple curriculums as per their choice. Diverse studies enable students to become a global citizen. For instance, currently there are number of curriculums being taught in private schools in Pakistan.
They are Cambridge education system, Oxford school system, Beaconhouse School System and A and O levels. How can students who studied in public schools be equal to the students who acquired their education at aforementioned elite schools.
Government must reform education sector but by uplifting all low-class schools to the level of elite-class not by merely introducing SNC which must be a subsequent option.
Its first priority should be to revamp and transform education sector by providing a best infrastructure, a tranquil environment, provision of capacious playgrounds and all other important basic facilities.
Moreover, SNC badly discourages the English medium of learning. All the text books at primary level have been written in Urdu language.
Even Mathematics and Science subject were in English version in the previous curriculum that are now entirely composed in Urdu now.
It does not seem a prudent approach? In nutshell, Single National Curriculum is not a bad idea provided that it is cautiously designed by taking all parties on board.
It must be cohesive in its nature. Besides SNC, government should allocate a big chunk of budget for the physical infrastructural development of public schools.
It must hire expert, well groomed, experienced and learned teachers in order to uplift and enhance education standards of all public schools.
There must be highly qualified religious teachers to deal with the subject of Islamyat. Provision of all basic facilities like those of elite schools to low-grade schools should be the government priority.
Students must be provided with a peaceful environment at schools where they could uninterruptedly study and nourish their learnings.
—The writer is Gujranwala based geopolitical analyst and freelance columnist.