While a national and unified curriculum might be the need of the hour in bringing equality, Mr Hoodbhoy warns against the hidden objectives behind this move by the PTI government in his new article for DAWN “Education: PTI’s plan exposed“.
Mr Hoodbhoy admits that a national curriculum is fairly lucrative, however, the changes associated with this curriculum outperform even the era of Ziaul Haq’s radical regime. Among many things, a national curriculum may pave a way for education equality and making public schooling on par with private schooling. Furthermore, the widening rift can be sewn among the upper and lower classes of society.
What is SNC?
Single National Curriculum, or SNC for short, will firstly incorporate major religious texts in the curriculum which is sheer orthodoxy in the age of rationale. Mr Hoodbhoy argues that this will impose further rote learning as it is carried out in Madrassahs all across the country. The “holy men” as he states, will undoubtedly affect the safety of the students in the context of recent molestation and rape cases.
Why is there a push for SNC?
Mr Hoodbhoy’s states that there are three reasons why there is a push for a national curriculum.
Firstly, there is a widespread belief that national curriculum will fill in the gaps and bring public school, or in this case, public curricula on par with private curriculum such as O/A-Levels. However, he argues, curriculum is the least of the concern since it all boils down to evaluation. While a matriculation student may encounter questions to name the founder of logarithms, O-Levels student will be asked to solve a logarithm.
Secondly, he contends that national curriculum can in no way equalize the students across the country. It depends on “infrastructure, well-trained teachers, high-quality textbooks, and internet access” which is something that most students are deprived of.
Lastly, Mr Hoodbhoy conveys the bitter reality that modern education can never be brought to the same page as a Madrassah. Arguably, there is a rational conflict among the two counterparts. In addition, one encourages critical thinking while the other shuns questions and curiosity. For a Madrassah, worldly knowledge is of lower priority than the life hereafter, while our need for survival and competence is completely opposite.
Provisions for the worst.
Consequently, he highlights the provisions that are now being put on place. These include reciting difficult religious passages such as Dua-i-Qunoot and naming all the wives of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Understandably so, students lack any communication skills while also being “starkly inferior” to their Bangladeshi and Indian counterparts primarily attributing to the fact that they have been engaging in rote learning since the beginning.
Mr Hoodbhoy concludes with the intimation that Pakistan will end up as nothing but a laughing stock in South Asia if this behavior continues to persist and PTI does not reconsider its policies. Moreover, he demands provinces to resist the curriculum as much as they can under the light of 18th Ammendment.