THE governing boards of seminaries of all denominations have agreed to adopt the single national curriculum (SNC) of the federal government. So, with this change in the pattern of seminary education, apprehensions about extremism, radicalisation, etc., which are erroneously associated with them, would be largely addressed.
Resistance to the adoption of the SNC may come not from the seminaries, but from the English-medium, high-fee institutions catering to the children of the privileged class which uses education as a means to perpetuate their privilege.
It may not be surprising if these institutions chose to bring socioeconomic pressure to bear from the countries whose syllabi they follow and these countries may readily oblige as they look upon these institutions for implementing their strategic programme of ‘changing hearts and minds’ of people in countries like Pakistan.
The existence of ‘ghost schools’ and ‘ghost teachers’, especially in rural areas, ought to be a matter of greater concern. School buildings constructed at public expense are often used by influential persons of the area for purposes other than education; ghost teachers do not teach and often they do not even exist. Yet, salaries are regularly dispersed in their name every month.
A matter of far greater concern, however, is that millions of our boys and girls do not get any education at all, and, even if they do, a fairly large number of them drop out of school before reaching class V. Eventually, they all join the ranks of the uneducated, unskilled and unemployed labour force whose number continues to swell alarmingly. Sadly, the alarming situation is not getting the attention that it deserves from the national leadership.
M. Zubair Farooqui
Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2022