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PESHAWAR: The Elementary and Secondary Education Department (E&SE) has decided to review and standardise textbooks being taught in the public sector schools with the objective to incorporate quality material therein, according to sources.

The decision has been taken as part of the initiative to maintain minimum standards in textbooks from grade-I to the intermediate level, sources in the E&SE Department told Dawn.

They said that textbooks of mathematics, science, English, chemistry, physics and biology from grade-I to intermediate level would be reviewed and standardised in different phases. For this purpose, the education department has made a comprehensive plan, they said.

They said that if the planned review and standardisation of the textbooks was successfully conducted and objectives achieved then Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would be the first province in the country to have textbooks meeting the criteria of minimum standards.

Officials say better material to be incorporated into textbooks

Besides incorporating quality material into the textbooks, the education department also desires to attract the private schools to introduce the education department’s textbooks in their respective schools, the sources said.

They said that the education department at present couldn’t force the private schools to introduce its textbooks as it couldn’t compete with the different publishers and printers whose books had been introduced since long.

The plan of reviewing textbooks and incorporation of quality content consists of four phases to be completed by June 2018, they said. The sources said that in the first phase the target was the textbooks of science, mathematics and English at primary level while the textbooks for middle class would be improved in the second phase.

Similarly, the textbooks of physics, chemistry, biology, English, mathematics and science for the high and higher secondary schools would be reviewed and improved in the third and fourth phases, respectively.

In this connection, the education department has already initiated imparting training to the officials of Directorate of Curricula and Teachers Education, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Textbook Board, authors, publishers and reviewers about how to review and standardise the books, the sources said.

They said that the reviewed books with quality contents would be introduced at primary level from the next academic session commencing from April 2017.

However, the sources said that only review and incorporation of quality contents into the textbooks would not be enough rather the education department must also change the existing examination system and teaching methodologies. They said that improved textbooks would have no benefit without imparting training to the teachers and changing the examination system.

The E&SE Department has approved the minimum standards for quality in education, which were prepared with consensus by all the provinces and federal government to maintain uniformity in the education sector. The minimum standards were established regarding curricula, textbooks, teachers, students’ assessment, school learning environment, etc.

With the devolution of curricula to provinces in the light of 18th constitutional amendment, setting up minimum standards in the education sector was a vital decision that would keep education uniform in the country, the sources said.

Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2016