It was August 2018, when the majority voted for Imran Khan of Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to rule the country as a Prime Minister. The visions and missions of the party have been very clear from the beginning. What made the majority choose the auspicious party was their promise to create a “Naya Pakistan.” A Pakistan that would be independent, corruption-free, and fair to all people, irrespective of caste, creed, race, and religion. Additionally, based on the dream of our great leader Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the vision of the Poet of the East Allama Allama Muhammad Iqbal, Imran Khan ensured his people that his government would strive hard to get Pakistan back on the track and restore all the principles that would transform Pakistan into Riyasat-i-Madina by adopting the governance policies like that of our beloved prophet.
Out of the multiple manifestos for the election 2018, the top one that Imran Khan presented was regarding education. Specifically, his government aimed to synchronize the education system of Pakistan by implementing Single National Curriculum (SNC) across the country during his tenure.
Today, approximately three years later after the vision was addressed to the public, all we see on social media websites is the trending topic regarding the implementation of Sin
gle National Curriculum across Punjab (SNC).
After the announcement regarding the crucial step by the Punjab Government was made, people of different backgrounds, religions, and languages are approaching the government. Those who are extremely happy with the historic decision are thanking the PTI government for taking the step that no other government could in the history of Pakistan.
Conversely, some people stand against the judgment and heavily criticize the government for determining Single National Curriculum across the province. These people came up with opposing statements like “it is too early to implement Single National Curriculum (SNC),” “the government is decreasing the overall standards this way,” among multiple other similar statements. Nonetheless, all those who are furiously opposing the decision definitely did not go through the SNC policies regarding the objectives, implementation, development process, criteria of construct, and features.
The Dire Need of Single Nation Curriculum Across the Nation
The strength of a nation lies in its unity, and for a country like Pakistan that is through a financial and economic crisis, is still in the developing phase, is repaying the debts taken by the previous governments’ and is trying to advance with the exponentially increasing world, the decision of implementation of Single National Curriculum serves as the first step of growth for the educational sector of Pakistan.
Social inequalities have been existing in Pakistan ever since in different sectors. The education sector has a vivid unequal education system divided into public institutions, private institutions, and madrassahs. Even a student of the same grade will be differently educated in these sectors and will have chances of growth depending upon the sector of education they are studying in, for instance, a student studying in a private school is likely to be offered more opportunities due to the quality of education he receives at the education institution, widening the knowledge gap.
Therefore, to decrease the increasing learning gaps among the students belonging to the same nation, the PTI government, for the first time in the history of Pakistan, has recognized the need for a cohesive system and has begun the implementation of SNC.
Another reason why SNC is an excellent decision is the difference in the mode of education, the teaching styles, the objectives of the educational institutions, and the assessment criteria of the different systems. For example, a student from a madrassah will not be taught using digital means, whereas a student from a private institute will rely on digital standards for education. Hence, creating unequal opportunities for learning for the students based on the sector of the society they belong to the educational institution they study in. All in all, the benefit remains in the hands of people who have a strong background and are financially stable. Also, the curriculum taught was outdated and promoted rote learning, which was never a great idea to encourage critical thinking and analysis among students.
So, the implementation of SNC that will be started phase-wise for different grades has been implemented for grades 1-5 across Punjab. This is to say that from now on, a student belonging to a low-income family without much background support and an elite belonging to a top-notch societal class will have equal chances of learning and growing.
How Would Things Change For Better Due to Implementation of Single National Curriculum (SNC)?
Globally, the strategists are setting targets to implement a unified education, like the SDG 4 states, “to ensure an inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” So, with the implementation of SNC, Pakistan is aligning with international commitments to make the world a better place.
Moreover, unlike the 2006 curriculum, the implemented SNC considers the international standard, benchmarks, and expected outcomes for the content. Surprisingly, the means of education are like that of the UK, Singapore, and Malaysia. So, any student would be able to get a quality education like that offered internationally.
For the first time, ICT has been included in the curriculum to develop, enhance, and polish students’ technical skills so that they would not lag in terms of technology ever.
SNC focuses on an activity-based approach to enhance creative learning, critical thinking, and analytical approach among the students to get rid of the rote learning system. Some of the most important principles like that of honesty, sustainable development, human right, among others, will be incorporated through education in the students. .
As mentioned earlier, the mission of PM Imran Khans’ Government was to turn Pakistan into Riyasat e Madina and to enhance the knowledge of Islam among the nation.
Considering this, Islamiat has been made mandatory for grades 1-12. For the religious minorities, Religious Education will be taught for the same grades.
Note that the policymakers are still working and restructuring the language used in SNC as the content varies based on it greatly.
The Bottom Line
Irrespective of all the comments from the opposition, when you sit and ponder on the first move to implement a Single National Curriculum (SNC) across the nation starting from Punjab, you will begin to realize that it is a step that was needed for the education sector of Pakistan. The class system remains and shall remain. However, it should not affect our education.