PESHAWAR: Elementary and secondary education minister Shahram Tarakai on Monday informed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly that a uniform curriculum had been prepared for primary classes, while the preparation of such curriculum for middle classes was under way.
He revealed this while responding to the criticism of the opposition lawmakers, who insisted that the federal government had violating the Constitution by interfering with the education sector, which was a provincial subject following the 18th Constitutional Amendment.
The opposition lawmakers said the centre had developed curriculum for all provinces and was also taking vital decisions about the elementary and secondary education in violation of the Constitution.
The session was chaired by Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani.
Opposition accuses centre of violating Constitution through decisions on elementary, secondary education
The education minister said curriculum for the high and higher secondary classes would be developed by March 31, 2022.
Rejecting the opposition’s claim about the constitutional violation by the federal government, he said the centre and provinces had unanimously framed the minimum standards of education for the entire country through a body, which had representation of all stakeholders.
“The minimum standards of education have been made to eliminate disparity in curriculum of private and government schools,” he said.
Mr Tarakai said after the curriculum was prepared for primary classes at the federal level, it was placed before the provincial cabinet for approval.
“The provincial cabinet incorporated several topics in the curriculum that were not relevant to other provinces but were mandatory for us [KP],” he said.
The minister said the federal government was assisting provinces in curriculum development.
Debate on curriculum development began during the question hour over the question of MPA Rihana Ismail, who had sought schedule from the government for the implementation of uniform curriculum in government and private schools.
Floating a supplementary question on the floor of the house, ANP member Shagufta Malik said it was a constitutional violation on part of the federal government to prepare curriculum for provinces.
She said every province was autonomous to prepare curriculum for own schools.
Opposition Jamaat-i-Islami’s MPA Inayatullah Khan said curriculum development was the domain of the provinces and preparation of uniform curriculum by the federal government was actually a violation of the spirit of the Constitution.
On a point of order, Inayatullah said the provincial government had illegally given Rs2 billion to the forest department as loan from the Hydel Development Fund in 2017 that it had so far failed to return.
He said the HDF funds were meant to be spent in the power sector only.
Leader of the Opposition Mohammad Akram Khan Durrani alleged that the district administrations and police department had made the lives of the traders miserable in the name of the implementation of SOPs against Covid-19.
Speaking on an adjournment motion that he moved for a detailed discussion, the opposition leader also alleged massive corruption in equipment purchase during the ongoing pandemic.
He said on one hand, traders had been suffering huge losses due to lockdowns but on the other, the district administrations were imposing huge fines on them in the name of SOP violations.
Mr Durrani demanded of the speaker to formally direct the police and district administrations to stop harassing the business community.
The government tried to block the approval of the adjournment motion to stop members from raising questions about the health department, which was repeatedly criticised over the alleged irregularities in purchases during the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the opposition benches got it approved as under the rules, the mover required the support of 14 MPAs for the approval of an adjournment motion for discussion on a matter. Mr Durrani’s motion was favoured by 30 members when the speaker put it to vote.
The session was later adjourned.
Published in Dawn, June 8th, 2021