Deadlines being extended as NCC meets tomorrow

Updated September 22, 2019

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When contacted, Minster for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood, who is heading the council, confirmed that there had been some changes in the deadlines set earlier, but since they were doing “a serious job” they did not want to do it in haste.  — DawnNewsTV/File
When contacted, Minster for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood, who is heading the council, confirmed that there had been some changes in the deadlines set earlier, but since they were doing “a serious job” they did not want to do it in haste. — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: After a gap of seven months, the National Curriculum Council (NCC) is going to meet tomorrow (Monday) with a slight change in the deadlines set for sharing the draft of an updated curriculum with the provinces for their input and reaching consensus to develop a ‘single national curriculum’, Dawn has learnt.

Sources said the NCC, which had been asked to share the updated curriculum draft with the provinces by Nov 30, was now directed to complete this task by the end of this year, making it nearly impossible for the government to introduce the new curriculum in the upcoming academic year starting in many parts of the country from April 2020.

According to initial plan, the government was supposed to finalise and notify the ‘single national curriculum’ in the light of input received from the federating units by Dec 30 for development of textbooks by March 30, 2020.

When contacted, Minster for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood, who is heading the council, confirmed that there had been some changes in the deadlines set earlier, but since they were doing “a serious job” they did not want to do it in haste.

“We are making efforts to develop a consensus on the curriculum up to primary level by March next year. After it, we will try to develop consensus on the curriculum up to Class 8 by October next year so that we can implement it in the academic year starting in 2021,” the minister added.

Minister says centre is ‘taking the provinces on board’ as curriculum is provincial subject under 18th Amendment

Asked about a possible delay in the introduction of the new curriculum in schools, the minister said it all depended on how much time the stakeholders would take in reaching a consensus. He said they could “even try to get it enforced by April 2020” if a consensus was developed by March.

But, he added, it didn’t matter if the new system was enforced in the academic year 2021, reiterating that they were doing a very important work.

Mr Mehmood said the uniform curriculum would be introduced not only in government schools, but also in private institutions and seminaries. The main purpose of the exercise, he said, was to develop a curriculum through which good and tolerant citizens and human beings could be produced.

For the first time in country’s history, he said, seminaries, too, had agreed to make their students sit in the exams which were conducted by the boards of intermediate and secondary education. “This is a great success. Madressahs have agreed that their students will now appear in the board examinations for classes 8, 10 and 12,” he added.

18th Amendment

Replying to a question, the minister agreed that curriculum was a provincial subject after the passage of the 18th Constitutional Amendment, but added that they were working on the new national curriculum by “taking the provinces on board”.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had ordered the establishment of the NCC in November 2018 and its first meeting was held in January 2019. Its second meeting is scheduled for Sept 23.

Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood is heading the council under which various committees have been given different tasks to help the NCC finalise new curriculum.

The government had informed the National Assembly during its last sitting on Sept 19 that several committees had been working in line with the approved roadmap given by the federal minister to help the NCC prepare a single national curriculum. The house was told that the findings of a comparative analysis of Pakistan learners’ standards with those of Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the UK were being incorporated in the draft.

Published in Dawn, September 22nd, 2019