PESHAWAR: Teachers, students, political party members and social activists expressed their discontent over the exclusion of the Pashto language paper from the new pattern of examination for students of grade-5.
A primary schoolteacher in Peshawar, Raza Khan, told The Express Tribune on Saturday that the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Elementary and Education department had stated that students of grade-5 would be tested on six subjects—Urdu, English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and Islamiat from March 7 to 12.
He added the schedule does not include any paper on Pashto. Khan added that when they contacted the education department to include the paper, provincial officials stated they did not have the power to do so from their higher authorities.
Nowhere to be seen
“Pashto is our mother tongue and we should keep it alive, not make it weak,” he said. He demanded the government include the Pashto paper as Pukhtuns have their own language and culture.
The same suggestion was reiterated by members of the Awami National Party and social activists.
ANP leader and former K-P education minister Sardar Hussain Babak said the previous government took various initiatives to secure regional languages, but the incumbent regime has withdrawn those decisions.
Babak criticised the PTI government’s policies, saying, “Pashto is our mother tongue and the government should introduce Science, Pakistan Studies, Islamiat and other subjects in the language.”
A grade-5 student in Peshawar, Ihtisham Ali, said they were displeased that authorities had not included Pashto language in the new pattern despite the fact that it is a subject in the curriculum.
“Pashto is our mother tongue and it is easier for us to learn in it than in Urdu or English.” He also demanded the government introduce other subjects in Pashto.
While sounding a similar opinion, Pakhtunkhwa Civil Society Network Coordinator Taimur Kamal said, “Other nations of the world are proud of their progress, currency, language, and traditions. The only thing we have to be proud of is our language.”
He added other nations and even other provinces of the country are taking their language forward while progressing, but the K-P government is trying to deprive the people of the only pride-worthy aspect and this is unbearable.
“This time they have excluded the Pashto paper; next time they will eliminate the subject [altogether],” he added.
When contacted, K-P Directorate of Curriculum Head Bashir Hussain Shah said the government planned to convert the medium of instruction of all government schools to English and had therefore introduced the language as a subject. He added a decision was taken to make all papers in English for the upcoming grade-5 examinations. He added there would be no other regional language paper in the exams.
To evaluate the knowledge and learning skills of students and keep a check on teachers’ performance, the K-P government initiated the universal examination of grade-5 students in selected schools of various districts in 2014. As per the decision, the students of the said grade in government schools were bound to give examinations in four subjects i.e. for English, Urdu, Mathematics and Science.
However, at the end of 2015, the primary examination system for grade-5 extended to all districts and the number of subjects was increased from four to six as Social Studies and Islamiat was included. According to K-P Elementary and Secondary Education Department, the examination will be held from March 7 to 12. One exam will be held per day and the results would be announced by March 31.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2016.
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