The curriculum of any country is of vital value and significance. It has to be completely researched and explored from every dimension. Keeping in view the recent implementation of the Single National Curriculum (SNC) by the government, few sections of society especially private schools are continuously bashing its implementation. In its first phase, it is for classes 1-5 which would be followed by the rest of the classes in the coming months.
The mandatory subjects for classes 1 to 5 are English, Urdu, Maths, Islamiat, and General Knowledge. For minorities, Islamiat has been replaced by “Religious Education”. The main goal of this curriculum is to treat English as a subject, not as a language.
Despite implementation policy, private schools have not adopted the SNC yet and are still trying to get NOC for their own books. Keeping aside all the biases, as a Pakistani and a concerned mother, I skimmed the syllabus and I was pleasantly surprised to see that the content is up to date and would help to revive our national language Urdu.
Following are the reasons we need to support SNC:
- One system of Education for all:
Under the slogan AIK QAUM, AIK NISAAB (One nation, One curriculum), it is a brilliant effort by the current government to end the reinforcement of class divisions through standardized education. Countries like France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom follow national curricula. I think it is a good initiative as it would give equity and all children would be able to learn likewise. It would definitely help to eradicate education disparity.
Urdu: As a language:
The national language is a legacy that should be transferred to the next generations. The day, a nation feels inferior while speaking its own language, that language dies the same day. I can’t appreciate enough that SNC has majorly focused upon Urdu as a language.
Honestly, in my opinion, books of national language should be prepared in their own countries. I loved the Urdu books of SNC. Oxford Urdu books are no match for them. Social studies and Islamiat are now in Urdu too. Why not?! Let us give Urdu a chance to revive and let our children learn it and communicate.
Religious books should be researched and published in their own native countries. The syllabus of other countries can never focus upon the Islamic values the way our own syllabus would.
I remember oxford Islamiat’s book of primary level in which “Namaaz Rakaats” included Farz only. It shows the bigotry level of the foreign syllabus.
Teachings of Quran and Sunnah (Naazra):
Many people are speaking against the implementation of Naazra. I believe it is a wise decision to include it as it would help our children to learn and understand Islam better. Something you would never find in the oxford syllabus.
Up to date content:
Before initiating the development of SNC, multiple Comparative studies were conducted to align SNC with international standards. These include analysis of Pakistani Curriculum with Singapore and Cambridge Curriculum. Pakistan Learners’ Standards were compared with Singapore, Malaysia/Indonesia, & UK standards. All the findings were incorporated in SNC.
Affordable for all classes:
A complete book set of any grade costs an average of 1000 rupees. What a relief for the parents! Many people are criticizing the paper quality but I am sure the government did this to make it affordable for all classes.
It is believed that only prescribed textbooks cannot achieve all curriculum objectives particularly when critical thinking, problem-solving, and other higher-order thinking skills are required to be inculcating in the hearts and minds of learners. The government has allowed all educational institutions to continue using their support material that ensures that learning is taking the desired direction.
SNC is influenced by the nation‘s ideology, language, religious motives, national policies, and socioeconomic development, technological advancement, research, and knowledge expansion. The curriculum is a major instrument of education, which, in fact, shapes the whole system. Around the world, there is a general agreement that primary schools should treat their national language not just as a subject but also as their speaking language. I am glad that the government took this decision and I hope it doesn’t face any more controversy.
Every new policy needs revision. With time, SNC should be revised if needed. This is the first year of implementation. It would get better with every passing year Insha Allah. All we need to do is to give it a chance. Let us revive our own URDU. Long live Pakistan!
This Opinion has been submitted by Hadia Rahman. She is an International relations Scholar by education; former news anchor; an academician, freelance host, and writer by profession; environmentalist at heart. She tweets @hadiarah
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