Prof. Parviz hoodbhoy
It has been officially announced that the uniform national curriculum of PTI will not be applied at Cambridge O and A levels. This is great news for the elite class of Pakistan. Some of them thought that now their children’s education would be in danger.
Parents who used to pay a monthly fee of Rs 15,000 and Rs 45,000 are now breathing a sigh of relief. The PTI did talk of a uniform education system, but it was just a pill of opium for the people.
Personally, I am happy with this government announcement. After teaching physics, mathematics and sociology in different departments of Pakistani universities and colleges for 47 years, I know that there is a clear difference in the analytical and reasoning skills of O level and A level certified students and local boards.
I have also seen many students who have excellent abilities and are different from normal students.
Some of these students are two to four hands ahead of the graduates of the local boards.
Federal Minister for Education Mr. Shafqat Mahmood has tried to give a different color to this announcement. He says in his various TV interviews that there is no hypocrisy here. They are only giving these expensive schools their due so that they can choose their preferred education system. Shafqat Mahmood further claims that the local education system that we will introduce will not require O and A level system. Yes sir.. You are right It will definitely happen.
Didn’t we all hear Imran Khan’s announcement on the container that we will put Pakistan on its feet? Never need an IMF?
Let’s find out what factors make the foreign education system superior to the local system.
Remember that this is not just a matter of curriculum. Targeting foreign education systems is nothing more than a political ploy.
In secular subjects such as science and general knowledge, the whole system covers almost the same subjects. The difference is in their educational philosophy. The foreign system shows understanding, reasoning and flexibility in helping to solve problems. But the local system revolves around the RTA system.
Why the concerns over the new education system?
What is the government’s proposed uniform education system and why are there reservations about it? Some parts of this curriculum seem harmless.Secular subjects are claimed to include modern materials, but in fact it is a new form of the old traditional curriculum.
A snippet of rhetoric also suggests that this uniform curriculum is close to General Pervez Musharraf’s 2006 curriculum policy. In which neither the implementation policy nor the financial expenditure was considered.
Modern education is an important need of the hour
For the first time in Pakistan’s history, ordinary schools will be run in a madrassa style under the proposed uniform education system. The consequences will be dangerous. Students of both types will read the same curriculum and books. In the same way, we will test together. It’s like forcing someone to board two trains at the same time. One of which is going to Karachi and the other is Quetta.
It doesn’t matter which train’s engine and bogies are in good condition and which is bad. The important thing is that the destinations are different.
The primary goal of modern teaching schools is to produce doctors, engineers, businessmen, scientists, etc. The research element has to be developed and students have to be encouraged to ask questions so that they can show their creativity.
Similarly, the examinations of these schools test the conceptual understanding of the students.
Madrassa students, on the other hand, are placed in a special circle. Rita and passive mindset are considered important while questions and critical reasoning are considered undesirable.
If a student of a madrassa asks a tough question to his teacher, it will not be good for him. First of all, science has nothing to do with madrassas. Where is There are no encouraging conditions there either.
Outdated experiences have to pay a heavy price
I agreed to watch a lecture by a teacher on a major religious TV channel who was telling his students that the sun revolves around the earth. And don’t go the other way. It was amazing. What is being taught to students?An attempt to integrate secular schools and madrassas has already failed.
Modern progressive Muslim leaders such as Muhammad Ali of Egypt and Kamal Ataturk of Turkey discovered this a century ago.
Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states are following suit. They have realized that worldly success in the 21st century is difficult for these students. Who consider the Nizam ul Mulk education system of the 11th century as a role model.
This is exactly the policy of the government. They want to prove that it is easy to unite madrassas and schools in this way. And that too without a comprehensive plan and test.
There is definitely a heavy price to pay for such outdated experiences. Excluding Pakistani students with foreign education system and certification, the rest of our students are at the bottom of the list of global educational achievements.
However, only a few engineers and trainee scientists are successful. Let’s take a look at Pakistan’s overseas manpower statistics.
Disappointing manpower situation
Most are unskilled or semi-skilled working class. According to GIZ and ILO, Pakistan has produced only 3% of high level engineers, doctors, managers, teachers etc. abroad. While 97% are laborers, domestic workers, drivers, carpenters, electricians, etc.
The PTI government is lowering the standard of education in its eagerness to bring madrassas in the field of public education.
It is also harming Pakistan’s national interests. Knowing that some madrassas had strongly opposed the reforms in the post-9/11 period.
In fact, some madrassas have given rise to militancy. To this day no one has denied these facts. It may be recalled that Musharraf’s government had made reform plans due to US pressure. They all flopped.
Most of the madrassas had rejected the pleas of their government. Because it threatened to end their power and monopoly.
Why did madrassas agree to the new proposed curriculum
Now the question arises as to why the madrassas have accepted the new curriculum plan?First, the changed situation on Pakistan’s borders due to the FATF has greatly reduced the financial need for non-state fighters as well as their financial support.
The second is that, the government is making madrassa education ideologically indispensable.With the introduction of this curriculum policy, public schools will teach more religious material than ever before.
In fact, it is not a bargain for them. Readers can check the SNC documents published on various Madrasa websites by comparing them with the syllabus.
The cycle of poverty in madrassas can end at their well. There are an estimated 25,000 madrassas in Pakistan. And there are about two and a half lakh ordinary schools.
Austerity can improve the education system
Isn’t it possible for us to buy less tanks, planes or small projects …! And invest the remaining money in new regular schools. Where to provide free quality education for the children of the poor?
It will be a breath of fresh air for the poor.
The directionless, untrained or in other words “classless” education system is not ideal. Experiments are definitely done in some parts of the world.
Estimates and assumptions are also worked on, but a government (which is serious about leveling the playing field for all children) should not abandon the same curriculum. Instead, there is a need to promote every modern education system.
School system, infrastructure should be improved. A standardized examination system should be introduced to test and hone the abilities of students.
Modern standard curriculum should be prepared and handed over to trained teachers. Also apply the best textbooks. Unfortunately, all these issues are severely lacking in Pakistan.