Modern syllabus with outdated content!

“Dear Dad! I have received your money order of Rs40. Don’t you worry I have purchased my books for sixth grade".

Shabir Ahmed April 25, 2012
“Copy rights are reserved — the book has been approved by education department of Pakistan according to the modern syllabus”. This sentence has been written on the first page of Gulshan Urdu, taught in class six in schools across Pakistan, including Gilgit-Baltistan.

You will find more of the “modern syllabus” as you cursorily go through its pages. For example, there is a specimen letter on pages 97–98. A student, after receiving a money order from his father writes back, thanking him for it. The words of the letter are translated here verbatim to help the reader retain original impression.
“Dear Dad! I have received your money order of Rs40. Don’t you worry, I have purchased the books and copies for class 6th and also paid the school fee.”

The specimen letter is dated March 2004. Imagine how outdated the content being taught in private and public schools is, since a school-lunch costs a student more than Rs40 today.

Similarly, the use of term ‘money order’ in today’s textbooks makes no sense since online funds transfer facilities through ATMs and cell phones have been introduced throughout the country and the service has been extended to villages as well, thus making the use of money orders almost redundant as well as its mention in ‘modern syllabus’.

In addition to content, the quality of printing and binding has also been compromised by and large. For instance, in New Active English Book for Class three, pages numbered 17, 24, 77, 81, 82 and 84 are blank.  Likewise, half of the pages in the mathematics texts of the same class have been printed upside down.

With these abnormalities and ever increasing prices of textbooks, I asked myself what the role of the Punjab Textbook Board was and why books were not updated regularly on a yearly basis to make them error-free and relevant to international standards. It is unjust to crush students under the burden of a syllabus that is not only outdated but also thoroughly flawed.

It is time we pressed for drastic reforms in education and introduce a system that is compatible with the requirements of the 21st century.

Read more by Shabbir here. 
Shabir Ahmed A reporter for The Express Tribune.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


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