Uniformity of education in Pakistan

Implementation of reform policy is the hard part

Socrates said that education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel. Education is the process to facilitate learning to acquire knowledge, skills, values, morals, beliefs, habits and personal development. Commonly the methods used to educate people are teaching, training, storytelling, discussion, demonstration and direct research. The role of education in nation-building is unquestionable and it is a valuable investment in the development of human capital. Historically, education always contributes to the economic, social and moral development of any nation and it is a premier right of every person in society. No doubt, Pakistan is one of the growing nation-states. In such a scenario, creativity, integration of knowledge, research and analytical approach of thinking becomes important. So, it is the need of time to equip students with analytical & critical thinking skills and to familiarize them with the technology and modern methodologies in perspective of national development. In the modern system of education, the curriculum has core importance. It is basically a candid and planned sequence of instructions that determines the goals, methods, materials and assessment techniques. A good curriculum creates and reflects culture & identity in a pellucid way. It helps educators to develop a compatibility with modern trends, innovative technology and enable them to impart required skills to the students. Consistent teaching and learning are not possible without a proper curriculum. It helps teachers to set measurable goals of learning for their students.

In Pakistan, there is a wide gulf among different social classes due to the difference in Urdu and English-medium schooling. Now, English is not just a language to learn knowledge but many people consider it a status symbol. It is necessary to bring the nation out of such complexes because no nation could rise until it relied on its original values and morals. For this purpose, the government of Pakistan has designed a national curriculum framework, under which the ‘Single National Curriculum’ would be developed and implemented in three phases. It was claimed that the national curriculum framework is multidimensional and it would address the existing issues related to ideological, academic, socio-cultural, emerging trends and evaluation paradigms. It is considered as one system of education for all, in terms of curriculum, medium of instruction and a common platform of assessment which will ensure fair and equal opportunity to receive a high-quality education for all students, social cohesion and national integration, alleviation of disparities in education content across the multiple streams, equal opportunities for upward social mobility, equity in education, holistic development of children in the light of emerging international trends & local aspirations and smooth inter-provincial mobility of teachers & students. In the curriculum development, the special emphasis had been laid on the teachings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) as an inspiration of ethics and morality. The minorities would also be taught about their religions. The national curriculum framework is designed with an aim to achieve national goals of education, to formulate a candid national education policy, to design an effective curriculum, to candidly define learning outcomes, to increase the flexibility to cope with the local or regional needs within the broader perspective of national policies & needs and to provide an instrument for accountability in education. The national curriculum framework will also address the issues like school modals, learning environment in schools, medium of instructions and teaching languages, teacher training, assessment & examination, feedback mechanisms, Information sharing and harmonization, etc. No doubt, the national curriculum framework is an outstanding step to revolutionize the educational horizon in the country.

On the other hand, it is a historical fact that in Pakistan it is easy to formulate such frameworks & policies but the most difficult step is the implementation. During the implementation phase, one has to face many ground realities that hurdle the change.

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On the other hand, it is a historical fact that in Pakistan it is easy to formulate such frameworks & policies but the most difficult step is the implementation. During the implementation phase, one has to face many ground realities that hurdle the change. For the implementation of the National Curriculum Framework, it is necessary to upgrade the infrastructure and facilities in all government schools. Such developments in schools would require huge funds which are difficult to manage in the prevailing economic situations of the country.  On the other hand, private schools are also bound to follow the single national curriculum but those schools are free to teach any additional material or even additional subjects. It is also allowed that private schools can use any book that is consistent with the curriculum. It is a fact that the infrastructure and educational facilities in private schools are much better than the government schools. The ability to avail the modern educational resources is incomparable between the students of government and private schools. The question is that how the objectives of ‘National Curriculum Framework’ and ‘Single National Curriculum’ could be achieved with all these differences? How it is possible to bring uniformity in the paradigm of education with all the above-described differences? No doubt, for developing countries like Pakistan, it is the need of time to design and implement a uniform education policy for all. It would help to bridge the class differences as well as would provide the capable workforce to run the state affairs.

Muhammad Anwar Farooq
The writer is a freelance columnist

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