APROPOS the letter from the federal education minister (July 22) defending the government’s plan to introduce the ‘Single National Curriculum’ to “try and begin righting a basic wrong; a class-based division of education in Pakistan.”

Lahore is still considered to be the centre of all types of education in Pakistan. This reputation has been enjoyed by the city from pre-partition days and many of the renowned persons of the subcontinent feel proud to have studied from schools and colleges in Lahore.

One such institution, Government Central Model School at Lower Mall has been functioning since1883. For around three decades after partition, the school had an enviable reputation and people would try their utmost to get their children admitted to this school, which would charge a nominal monthly fee.

Admissions would take place purely on merit and school results would be the best in Pakistan. The sons of low paid persons would also get an opportunity to study in the school. Some of its alumni are in high positions. The respect and prestige enjoyed by this school was much more than that of institutions where the children of the elite would study.

It would be better for the PTI government to try to bring improvements in the standard of education of government schools and colleges, instead of keeping a grudge against the institutions having English as the medium of instruction.

The education minister states that the elite study in English language institutions and “English is now not just a language but a class in Pakistan”. In stark contrast former Malaysian prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said: “The English language has become a very important language to acquire knowledge”. He told parliament in July 2019 “to acquire and master new knowledge, the English language is needed. However, if a person is articulate in English, it will provide direct access to new knowledge.”

I am afraid the SNC is unlikely to increase the standard of education in madrassahs and government-run schools and colleges because the quality of staff in these intitutions. On the other hand SNC will most likely bring down the institutions following a competitive curriculum.

A Senior Citizen
Karachi

Published in Dawn, July 28th, 2020

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