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Published Date: May 1, 1998

Language-Teaching and World View in Urdu Medium Schools (R-15)

Tariq Rahman, SDPI


The ordinary state run school teaches most subjects in Urdu in most parts of Pakistan.  And even when it does teach in Sindhi or Pashto, Urdu is taught as an additional language.  As such, the world view of the products of state schools is more influenced by Urdu than by any other language in the country taken as a whole.

The state-schools covered in this study are meant for the education of the poorer sections of society and are fully controlled by the state unlike the elitist English-medium schools where state control is minimal.  State control manifests itself, apart from other things, in the way state sponsored ideology is disseminated through textbooks in these schools.  The purpose of this study is to investigate how the Pakistani state uses the language-teaching texts in Urdu medium schools to disseminate and reinforce the ideologies of nationalism and militarism. A number of other ideologies, like assumed male superiority inherent in the texts, have been touched upon in passing but are not the focus of this study.

A brief review of relevant literature about the way ideology permeates state-influenced teaching follows this section (section 2).  The next section (section 3) describes what kind of texts have been classified as ideological texts and how their percentage in school text books has been determined.  Section 4 contains a brief account of how the present exercise helps us understand the nexus between ideology and language-teaching texts.  Section-5 is about the efforts being made in Pakistan by certain Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to eradicate, or at least reduce, the intensity of the biases of the textbooks at present.  In the end (section 6) there is a conclusion followed by appendices containing useful information about language texts and a bibliography.