Published Date: Oct 6, 2011
SPEAKERS QUESTION CONTENTS OF NATIONAL CURRICULA
Highlighting the multiple lacunas and anomalies present in the national curriculum, designed for students from grade one to ten, the speakers stressed on Wednesday the need to purge the curriculum of discrimination against non-Muslims, glorification of war, gender-stereotyping, biases against diversity of language and culture and “blatant distortion of history”.
They expressed these views at a launching ceremony of a book called “What Are We Teaching Our Children (?)”
The event, arranged by ActionAid Pakistan and its local partners, coincided with the World Teachers Day. The participants raised certain concerns regarding the contents of national curriculum being taught at different levels in different parts of the country.
The speakers included Aamir Riaz (author of the book), PEAD Foundation Executive Director Samina Imtiaz, President Private Schools Networks Dr Afzal Babar, Senior SDPI advisor Ahmed Saleem and National Curriculum Wing Deputy Education Advisor Dr Tariq Mehmood. Aamir Riaz said that it was unfortunate that the curriculum in Pakistan was marred with a typical mindset that reflected unwanted inputs and emission of certain facts and events.
“Some of the information added in the curriculum is inappropriate for children of quite younger age and likewise some information is withheld or distorted to preach a specific ideology,” he observed. He was of the view that most of the curriculum books had been designed to malign the non-Muslims and to provoke religious disharmony.
Samina Imtiaz said the text books recommended for both public and private schools were devoid of content to assist students in critical thinking and appreciation of the events and happenings. Referring to the content of books written in Urdu, she said that it glorified war and violence in one way or other.
Then, she said, there were chapters which stereotyped women by highlighting their role as home workers— skilled in sewing, cooking and embroidery work. She lamented that Urdu curriculum in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as compared to other provinces had more religious contents.
Dr Afzal Babar said that private schools in Pakistan were following the curriculum designed by multinational publishers. He said that it was the responsibility of government to oversee whether or not the curriculum was designed for Pakistani context.
He added certain publishers would take care of a country’s specific context while publishing books for other countries such as Sri Lanka or India but that was not the case when it came to Pakistan.