Freedom to choose quality education is our right. Abolish SNC now!

Change can happen only when education is seen as a means for opening minds rather than an instrument of ideological control. The Single National Curriculum seems to prefer uniformity and conformity over quality. Class disparity in education is something all Pakistanis hope to eradicate but this must be done be bringing up the underprivileged not by bringing down the few who had access to quality education. Not every student’s education needs can be met in the same setting with the same instructional approach and same curriculum. For example, strengths, weaknesses and exposure of urban children are largely different than those of rural students. Children from different areas, cultures, religion, sect and backgrounds must have access to knowledge at the pace and in the language that best suit them. That’s why government should safeguard families’ freedom to make educational choices that respond to the unique needs of their children and which reflect their values. The freedom to pursue our varied dreams and our own definition of better future for ourselves and our children is part of our culture and tradition for centuries in this region. We Muslims of subcontinent have valued educational paths of sufis, madrasas, government schools, private schools as well as homeschooling with varied curriculums, where Alim-Fazil was equally respected as a doctorate. But unfortunately today we are taking a step backwards by enforcing authoritarian style curriculum that is giving a one-size-fits-all solution to a diverse county like ours.
Furthermore, enforcement of Urdu medium is infringement on the freedom to choose one's preferred medium of instruction and access to knowledge. This only reminds of the failed ‘Urdu medium’ system of Zia era that plunged a generation of students into unnecessary complications and disadvantages. In the rapidly changing world Urdu is not the language in which knowledge or original though is being produced. There are limited resources of information in Urdu and there are virtually no international journals of Urdu as Urdu is not even a recognised international language and universities abroad teach Urdu under 'Hindi'. And unless the status of Urdu changes at the world stage its extremely unfair for children to be taught useless knowledge that they wouldn't be using in there lives ever. Knowing names of the planet or oceans, for example, in Urdu will land you nowhere if you want to research them so essentially its a unnecessary burden on children.
On a more serious note, we should also not forget that last time Urdu was imposed on all provences, it resulted in the 'Bengali language movement' that eventually played a huge role in separation of East Pakistan. Pakistan is a diverse country with Urdu being the first language of only 8% of its population, which counter prove the argument that claims that Urdu medium will build pride in one's roots and mother tongue.
Therefore we must realise the long term implications of SNC, which seek re-centralisation of power to centre is disregard of 18th amendment. It will have devastating impacts not just on education but on provincial policy space in general. So please speak up for the sake of future generation lest this curriculum annihilate the power of thinking and learning at the grass root level. Create an mindless brigade that has firm belief in its own lowliness, and looks up to the great elite for wisdom and leadership. 

 


Sana Taimur (Mother in distress)    Contact the author of the petition

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