Difference in languages in education system has generated disparity: minister

Updated 24 Sep 2020

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Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood said the medium of instruction will be finalised in the next week. — DawnNewsTV/File
Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood said the medium of instruction will be finalised in the next week. — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Federal Education Shafqat Mehmood said on Wednesday that there is a huge difference in languages in the country’s education system that has generated alarming disparity.

He said the government wants to minimise this difference, and the points of view of stakeholders are being taken to finalise the medium of instruction for primary education under the new curriculum, which is going to be introduced in the academic session beginning in March-April 2021.

Mr Mehmood was speaking during the second national conference on the medium of instruction, organised by the National Curriculum Council in Islamabad.

The conference was attended, either physically or online, by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Minister Shahram Khan Tarakai and other provincial governments’ representatives, as well as representatives from Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir.

National conference held on medium of instruction under new curriculum, to be decided in the next week

Education experts such as Dr A.H. Nayyar, Javed Jabbar and Maryam Chughtai and parents’ representatives were also present and discussed various proposals for the medium of instruction during a three-hour meeting.

Sources said they discussed three main proposals: English as the medium of instruction for all primary classes, education in first and second languages, and English as the medium of instruction in English, Maths and Science while the rest of the course is taught in the mother tongue and teachers would have the liberty to use their native language in the classroom.

They said Mr Tarakai said that English is the medium of instruction for primary education in KP, and it would be difficult for the province to make changes now if, for instance, it is decided to make the mother tongue the medium of instruction.

A final decision has not been made, but the ministry has received input from stakeholders and according to sources a decision will be made in the next week.

English as a medium of instruction and not a subject was also suggested at a previous meeting, as was the teaching of subjects such as Maths and Science in English from the beginning.

Mr Mehmood told Dawn the ministry is all set to introduce a uniform education system in the country in collaboration with the provinces, adding: “We are now going to finalise the medium and today we got valuable input from experts and other stakeholders.”

He said the medium of instruction will be finalised in the next week.

A press release issued by the ministry said that participants of the conference shared their experiences, observations, opinions and comments on the language of textbooks and the single national curriculum to bridge existing gaps in the education system.

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2020