ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday officially launched the Single National Curricu­lum (SNC) for primary level, saying the initiative will end disparity in society and provide equal chance to all students to excel.

The new curriculum for classes 1 to 5 was prepared by the National Curriculum Council (NCC) and the Ministry of Federal Education in consultations with the provinces.

The prime minister, while appreciating federal Educa­tion Minister Shafqat Mahmood and his team for preparing SNC, said it was his 25-year long vision that there should be a single curriculum in the country. He said that unfortunately there were three curricula for students in the country — upscale schools, public schools and religious seminaries.

The prime minister said SNC would transform the nation into a unified one, but warned the federal education minister that the elite class and people supporting the status quo — who were real beneficiary of different curricula as their kids enjoyed privilege in society due to English medium education — might not accept this change. They would argue against SNC but the education minister should remain determined, Mr Khan added.

He said SNC should have been launched soon after the country’s independence to avoid division in society. He said the students of elite education system had privilege and passed civic service exams because of their good command in English. The British rulers had introduced their educational system in the subcontinent for their own interest, but after the independence “we carried their legacy and culture”, he regretted.

The prime minister said mental slavery was worse than physical slavery, adding that no individual could make progress without innovation and critical and original thinking. He said the failure to introduce SNC earlier resulted into the growing division in society.

PM Khan said he came to know that 800,000 students were pursing education in English medium schools, while over 300 million were studying in public schools and around 2.5m in seminaries.

According to the education ministry, SNC will be introduced from classes 6 to 8 in 2022 and from classes 9 to 12 in 2023. However, PM Khan directed the education minister to take steps for launching SNC for classes six and above over the next six months, instead of next two years.

The prime minister said the new curriculum laid special emphasis on teachings of Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

In an apparent reference to withdrawal of foreign troops and Taliban takeover of Kabul, PM Khan said the people of Afghanistan had broken the shackles of slavery.

Earlier, terming SNC a milestone to end disparity from education system of the country, Shafqat Mahmood said the new curriculum had been launched at primary schools and seminaries in the provinces, except Sindh. He said he was optimistic that Sindh too would adopt SNC.

Published in Dawn, August 17th, 2021

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