Elite private schools in Lahore start new session without SNC

Published August 15, 2021
The government had started the new academic session 2021-22 of the primary classes in all the public schools of the province from Aug 2. — Dawn/File
The government had started the new academic session 2021-22 of the primary classes in all the public schools of the province from Aug 2. — Dawn/File

LAHORE: The private schools exclusive to the upper classes in the provincial capital have started new academic session of the primary classes without implementation of the Single National Curriculum (SNC).

The government had started the new academic session 2021-22 of the primary classes in all the public schools of the province from Aug 2.

A private school association member said the new academic year had been started but the private schools were not yet given any booklist and they had to start the schools with old syllabus without getting a no objection certificate under the SNC.

Earlier, the private schools held protests before the start of the new academic year as they did not receive any material from the government according to the SNC.

The Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board (PCTB), according to some reports, had not given the private schools any NOC for compulsory subjects, namely English, Urdu, Islamiat, General Knowledge, Social Studies and General Science. The private schools only got the NOC of the Supplementary Reading Material (SRM) for the grade 1 to 5 of the compulsory subjects and some of the optional subjects, including Science and Mathematics.

The PCTB had formed three committees for approval of the subjects aligned to the SNC, namely External Review Committee, Ulema Board and Internal Review Committee.

One of the publishers of the private schools books said it would take three to five months to get approval of any book after submitting material to these committees and it was impossible for the private schools to delay their new academic year of the primary classes. He said the PCTB also had not yet issued the booklist for the primary classes.

The private schools, including Aitchison, Lahore Grammar School, Roots, LACAS and Bloomfield, have started the new academic year without implementing the SNC, terming it a failure of the government not to give them approval of the syllabus books or even booklist for starting the new academic year.

Educationist Jasir Shahbaz tweeted, “Aitchison is not implementing SNC, the alma mater of Prime Minister Imran Khan. If the vision was one curriculum for the whole nation, why can elite schools opt out of it? One curriculum can’t bring the same learning outcomes because curriculum is the last reason for inequality in education”.

Federal education minister Shafqat Mahmood tweeted on Saturday, “On this our Independence Day we reaffirm our commitment to work tirelessly for a better Pakistan. A step in that direction is the launching of Single National Curriculum by PM Imran Khan on Monday. Another promise fulfilled”.

A twitter account replied by saying, “Uncle that’s all fine and dandy but why isn’t the SNC taught at your & @ImranKhanPTI ‘s alma mater Aitchison College? The SNC has widened the divide between the Pvt. & public education sector where rich schools can get NOCs & refuse to teach the SNC without problems. Hypocrisy!”. To this, the federal minister clarified by tweeting back, “There is no exemption for Aitchison college or any other school”.

A school functioning in Lahore under the armed forces also reportedly did not implement the SNC. When a high official in the School Department was questioned about it, he replied that the school under the armed forces did not fall in the department’s purview.

No one from the school education department was available for comment on record.

Published in Dawn, August 15th, 2021

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