Beaconhouse National University (BNU) Board of Governors Chairperson Nasreen Mahmud Kasuri on Thursday expressed the need to have forums to discuss sensitive issues pertaining to language policy in education.
Mrs Kasuri was chairing the plenary session of a one-day international conference organised by the BNU School of Education (SE). The themes of the conference were “Education, Language and Educational Management.” The conference was a part of BNU’s 10th anniversary celebrations.
Mrs Kasuri expressed the need to train teachers in the latest approaches and methodologies to ensure quality teaching. She said “It is alarming how the dilemma of untrained teachers in the classroom can be damaging to the students.” She acknowledged the role of BNU SE in training teachers at different levels of education. She also stressed the need to address the issue of the role and status of local languages and mother tongue in education.
BNU Vice Chancellor Sartaj Aziz highlighted the need to focus on the issue of education in Pakistan. He said that higher funds were only one of the four pre-requisites for the transformation of the education system in Pakistan. The other three being well trained teachers, an objective and professional institutional framework for educational management and incentives for learning and scientific research.
He said there was a positive relationship between mother tongue and educational achievement; therefore, it was important for improving literacy rate in the country that all the major languages be given the status of national languages in Pakistan.
SE Dean Dr Tariq Rahman talked about the important role conferences play in academia in sharing ground breaking research findings and furthering novel research ideas.
Lahore College for Women University Vice Chancellor Dr Sabiha Mansoor stressed the impact of languages on education policy of a country. She reiterated the role of mother tongue in strengthening the ethno-linguistic identity of its speakers as well as improving educational achievement.
In the session on the theme of “Language”, Lahore School of Economics Department of Social Sciences Head Dr Shahid Siddiqui highlighted the role language plays in developing gender stereotypes. In his talk he also suggested that the educational institutions can play a vital role in eliminating these stereotypes from the society.
In the session on “Education”, Society for the Advancement of Education (SAHE) Executive Director Abbas Rashid and SAHE Director Dr Fareeha Zafar emphasised on a language policy that promoted the use of local languages as a medium of instruction.
University of Pennsylvania doctoral candidate Murium Durrani suggested that policy of compulsory English in public sector schools, instead of democratising education might increase illiteracy.
In the session on “Educational Management”, University of London Royal Holloway doctoral candidate Sumaira Noreen gave a historical perspective of the way in which education has been managed in South Asia.
FC College University Centre for Learning and Teaching Director Dr Rukhsana Zia gave an insider’s perspective on the process of bringing about policy reforms in education in Pakistan.
LUMS Department of Law and Policy Associate Professor Dr Osama Siddique summed up the session by stressing on the need for a constructive educational policy where the government and other stake holders join hands to bring about the much needed reforms in the education sector in Pakistan.
The conference was attended by prominent academics, experts, educationists and a large number of students.