THIS refers to the article ‘Cost of enforced modesty’ (June 19) and two letters published subsequently (June 25); one in its favour, and the other against it. I just wonder why no one has ever bothered to consider parents a relevant stakeholder in this whole debate and decision-making.

Quite contrary to its self-proclaimed objective of inclusiveness, the Single National Curriculum (SNC) is monolithic in nature and very dictatorial in its implementation approach. It leaves much to be desired. Instead of dissecting the contents, I, as a parent, would like to highlight two critical points.

SNC has been developed by completely alienating the most important stakeholder in a child’s education – parents.If somebody could have bothered to take them on board, they would have known beyond doubt that a massive majority of parents is completely opposite to the mantra of inclusiveness that the SNC so superficially stands for.

The celebrated goal of the government to eliminate the so-called educational apartheid cannot be fulfilled by creating another one by autocratically pushing parents into a corner. SNC has never been open for a discourse with parents.

The government’s haste in developing and then even more haste in implementing SNC defies its own core principles. Why haven’t the conceptualisation and development processes been consultative, involving both parents and children? Consequently, the implementation plan is even more dictatorial in nature with no concept of pilot-testing and consensus-building.

Most importantly, the very concept of ‘single’ in SNC violates my basic human rights about freedom of choice, as a standardised curriculum eliminates diversity of choices to cater to diverse learning needs of the thriving minds of children.

Educating my child according to individual proclivities is my basic right and why has the government unilaterally decided on my behalf what is best for my child? The contents of the SNC could be written in silver and gold, but I want my basic human rights reinstated by not being forced to get dictated by a standardised curriculum.

The education minister and the government at large should know that they would be violating my child’s basic rights if s/he is subjected, or should I say subjugated, to follow something that the state decided to throw in absolute hurry with total disregard for any input from the parents.

I, as a parent, absolutely reject this approach and urge the government not to behave like an autocratic dystopian monarchy in terms of implementing the curriculum. I want my freedom of choice reinstated by making the adoption of SNC an option for schools; not a compulsion.

Amatuz Zahra Rizvi
Islamabad

Published in Dawn, July 2nd, 2021

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