ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Education has decided to call a national summit to discuss the Single National Curriculum (SNC) and reach a consensus on the much-trumpeted document of the previous PTI government.

Federal Education Minister Rana Tanveer Hussain and Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal presided over a meeting here at the Education Ministry to receive a briefing on the SNC. The meeting was attended by Education Secretary Naheed Shah Durrani, National Curriculum Council (NCC) Director Maryam Chughtai and other officials.

The PTI government had introduced and implemented the SNC from classes I to V last year in the federal capital and three out of the four provinces — Sindh had expressed reservations over the move. The government had planned to extend this system to classes six to eight from the upcoming academic session, which starts in August. The draft curriculum for classes six to eight has been prepared and was being given final touches.

After the new government took over, it seems it wants to continue this process albeit after with some positive changes. Both ministers, who belonged to the PML-N, got a briefing from the ministry and NCC officials.

Curriculum to be revised to encourage critical thinking, group learning

Sources said that during the meeting, it was discussed that instead of the SNC, the document should be called the ‘national core curriculum’. The meeting decided to hold a national summit on the SNC, which will be attended by all stakeholders and education experts from the public and private sectors.

It was also agreed that the entire curriculum required a paradigm shift — from learning based on memorisation to one based on critical thinking and group learning, and that a PC-1 would be prepared for a state-of-the-art Teachers Training Centre.

Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal said the PML-N had initiated four important projects in the past for curriculum, exam and madressah reforms as well as a teachers training programme. He assured the meeting of unwavering support of his ministry for substantive education-related projects.

Meanwhile, a press release issued by the Planning Ministry after the meeting said the SNC was based on a cram system, as students were not given an opportunity to clear their concepts. The minister said four things needed to be addressed immediately at the proposed summit, including curriculum reforms, teachers’ training, examination and madressah reforms, and directed the officials to engage experts and get their input so that a uniform curriculum could be implemented.

Mr Iqbal also directed the education ministry to establish a model teacher training institute in Islamabad. “Teachers’ training is the most important element after the curriculum, but unfortunately it remains missing,” he stressed.

Similarly, he stressed bringing seminary students into the mainstream and taught science subjects to enable them to compete in society. He also directed officials to follow the international standards of teaching and curriculum development on the lines of Turkey and Singapore. “Bring anything substantial on education and the Planning Commission will approve it, but it should not be a typical PC-1,” he asserted.

Meanwhile, the minister also reviewed progress of the Higher Education Commission and noted that the commission must play its role in making education the greatest socioeconomic equaliser and help people move upwards in social mobility.

Published in Dawn, April 27th, 2022

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