ISLAMABAD: The Federal Education Ministry has decided to rename the Single National Curriculum (SNC) - a much-hyped initiative of the previous Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government - as National Curriculum of Pakistan (NCP).
“The National Curriculum of Pakistan (NCP) is the new name of the curriculum reforms,” said Federal Education Minster Rana Tanveer Hussain on Thursday.
Addressing a workshop in Islamabad, the minister said: “The word ‘single’ caused confusion and excluded the diversity education that is an asset to our country’s rich heritage. We are now ready for getting back on track.”
The PTI government had launched SNC at the primary level last year in three provinces except Sindh.
‘National Curriculum of Pakistan’ is new name of curriculum reforms, says minister
The education minster said NCP will be a comprehensive exercise, covering all four aspects of a quality curriculum.
“This includes standards, textbooks, teachers training and examinations reforms. Going forward, there will be a special focus on teacher training without which reforms are incomplete,” he said and added that most importantly “we will spearhead examination reforms. Our children must move away from rote memorisation in exams to concept-based understanding,” he said.
The two-day National Curriculum Workshop was organised by the ministry in collaboration with its development partners with representation from all the federating units to promote an inclusive approach on the national curriculum and its implementation.
According to a press release, Mr Tanveer said: “It is imperative to highlight that the true vision of education reforms began in the previous tenure of the PML-N government in 2013 to 2018. After the tragic attack on schoolchildren at an Army Public School in 2014, a national consensus was evolved to counter violent extremism through a National Action Plan. Development of a national curriculum with consensus to set minimum standards for all public and private schools and religious seminaries is a part of this serious effort from the government,” he said.
The minster said that the establishment of the National Curriculum Council (NCC) Secretariat with consensus from all provinces in 2015 was the first major step in this regard. The purpose, he said, was to make minimum standards of quality education for all children in Pakistan, as Article 25A of the Constitution makes it the state’s responsibility to provide education to every child.
“Our government was the first one to make a National Curriculum Framework for the country in the year 2017. A minimum national standards framework document was also released at the time. To ensure progressive and concept-based religious education, a historic Compulsory Teaching of Holy Quran Act was passed in 2017,” he said and added that Pakistan has not had an education policy since 2009.
“However, it was our government that devised and released a new National Education Policy draft in 2017.”
Mr Tanveer said that curriculum reforms should not be forced on provinces. Sindh did not join the important initiative because of this reason. Similarly, he said, private sector was alienated because what was supposed to be a minimum standard was treated as the maximum standard.
“Many private publishers went bankrupt due to this unfortunate step. Finally, the word ‘single’ caused confusion and excluded the diversity education that is an asset to our country’s rich heritage,” he said.
The minister said: “Our focus is on inclusivity, where representation from all sectors is to be ensured. We will keep the national curriculum a living document which will be consistently updated in light of research findings from schools and international best practices.”
He said that to ensure deeper engagement and a truly consultative process for making the national curriculum, a calendar of country-wide curriculum workshops will be released soon.
He said the ministry was committed to providing a supporting role to all provinces for capacity building in education and inter-provincial harmony, respecting the 18th Amendment.
The minister said that special focus will be put on issues related to out of school children, quality of education at school, tertiary and higher education level which mainly includes teacher training, missing facilities, girls’ education, improving adult literacy and accelerated learning programs and last but least skill education.
In August last year, the then prime minister Imran Khan had launched the SNC at the primary level, saying the initiative will end disparity in society and provide equal opportunities to all students to excel.
Published in Dawn, July 22nd, 2022