Stories about curriculum

Pakistan’s education crisis: enrolled in schools, unable to learn

It is no secret that Pakistan’s education sector is in dire straits. The Wilson Center report, titled ‘Why Can’t Pakistani Children Read? The Inside Story of Education Reform Efforts Gone Wrong,’ talks about Pakistan’s ‘education emergency’. It talks at length about the misdiagnosed education crisis of Pakistan which has resulted from decades of well-meaning but majorly-flawed internal and international reforms. Maina Gathinjaga WaGîokõ, a fellow educationist from Kenya, once said, “I am not worried about the 850,000 who are out of school. I am more worried about the 12 million who are in school.” The current level of enrollment in kindergarten at ...

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Nation uniform curriculum: Are we compromising equity for equality?

In another move towards a Naya Pakistan, Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood has announced a uniform national curriculum policy to not only ensure the quality of education, but also provide a level playing field across the country and present equal opportunity to everyone. This may sound utopian to many, but can we start celebrating yet? Let’s unearth this thought by taking a glance at the omnipresent institution of ‘schools’. How old is this institution? Impromptu responses might suggest perhaps thousands of years old, or maybe dating back to Socrates. Not only would these responses reflect our ...

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How was I supposed to know about Dr Ruth Pfau, who she was or what she had done for my country?

On August 10, 2017 I heard about the demise of Dr Ruth Pfau. Within hours, social media was filled with condolence messages and appreciation posts for Dr Pfau’s efforts to counter leprosy in Pakistan. Prayers for Dr Ruth Pfua. "We shall remember you as Ambassador of humanity and for selfless services to the people of Pakistan. RIP", COAS. — Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) August 10, 2017 Saddened to learn of Dr Ruth Pfau's passing. Her spirit of selfless dedication leaves a void that will be difficult to fill. — Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) August 10, 2017 Dr Ruth Pfau. Pakistani legend. Represented the pinnacle of human empathy ...

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Aao Parhao – Let’s work towards facilitating our teachers

Education is one of the fundamental foundations for a nation to move forward. For this, various models are being introduced and implemented as the most effective and efficient education systems. However, whichever education equation is opted for, it is worth noting that it cannot be initiated without the most crucial building block – teachers. Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education and author, Joel Klein, observes, “A great teacher can rescue a child from a life of struggle.” This statement could not be any truer. A high-performing, well-trained, and committed teacher can not only enhance a child’s learning abilities but can ...

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Aao Parhao – My experience in a Pakistani school

I have been privileged to attend some of the best schools across the globe. My primary schooling was initiated at an American international school in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. After eight years at this school, I then moved to Pakistan with my family where I attended an all-girls school in Islamabad, Pakistan.  This was a prestigious establishment and I attended at the same time as Bakhtawar Bhutto, even though she was always flanked with guards and extra security. However, making the transition from an American school to a Pakistani one wasn’t easy. All of a sudden, I had to deal with a ...

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Can the Pakistani education system stop catering to political agendas please?

The issue of school curriculum has been under discussion in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) for some time now. The 18th Amendment devolved the education sector to the provinces but that has yet to bear fruit, since the leaders who have decided to take up the responsibility of planning a ‘better’ future for the youth of K-P still need to achieve some constructive results. Playing its ‘due’ role, the coalition government in the province wants to change what is being taught to children at schools. The changes desired are within the lines of ‘religious’ and ‘national’ teachings, according to the members. They want chapters on national heroes like Bacha Khan ...

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Will radicals succeed in making India ‘for Hindus only’?

The Hindu right wing government in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh finally withdrew the order introducing lessons from the religious text Bhagavad Gita in school curriculum. They also wanted to include Hindu religious teachings in the curriculum of Urdu schools from the academic year 2013-14. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled state came under heavy criticism from Muslim organisations and secular political parties for its attempt to alter the secular character of the constitution. Members of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) Muslim Personal Law Board blamed the government for the communalisation of the school textbooks and attempting to ...

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‘Dosti’ between Pakistan and India

If Taylor Swift was a political analyst, she would be telling us right now,  “India and Pakistan are never, ever getting back together!” By cancelling concerts by Pakistani artists, not issuing visas and letting our women’s cricket team camp at a stadium during their tour, India has given us the proverbial lannat. The Pakistani government has responded with some serious passive-aggressive silent treatment much like an angry boyfriend. At times like these, hearing about the 50th anniversary of the Elysee treaty signed between France and Germany which ended an era of animosity, wars, bloodshed and bitterness between the two countries comes as a ...

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Nothing real can come out of the Indo-Pak visa regime

‘People-to-people contact’ is a buzzword when it comes to improving Pakistan-India relations. Emphasised so much over the years, it has become a cliché. The two countries have recently signed a new visa regime, which was endorsed by the federal cabinet last week. Under the new regime, the two countries have made an effort to ease what most people consider bottlenecks in increasing people-to-people contact such as the strict visa policies pursued by the two South Asian neighbours. It will be premature to comment if the initiative will bring expected results, since we have been seeing ‘exchanges’ at different levels for the ...

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Wanted: More than a uniform education system

Politicians agree that the education system in Pakistan has failed. When they are not arguing about whether or not a section on jihad is necessary, most agree that the country requires more schools and a unified curriculum.  When it comes to education, politicians and bureaucrats love building schools and talking about reform. However, building schools is something tangible and easily achievable; they hang banners, pose for a photograph, pray before an inauguration plaque, and bask gloriously in the satisfaction of constructing a new school. Curriculum reform is also another talking point, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of agreement on exactly ...

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