‘Govt committed to providing national cohesion on language’

Shafqat Mahmood reiterates uniform curriculum agenda at mother languages festival

​ Our Correspondent February 24, 2020
Representational image. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: Without language, identity of the people is incomplete, said Federal Minister for National History and Literary Heritage Shafqat Mahmood at closing ceremony of three-day Pakistan Mother Languages Festival arranged by Indus Cultural Forum and Pakistan National Council of the Arts.

At an event held to celebrate diversity, the minister said that government was committed to provide a national cohesion when it comes to language adding he said that there must be a uniformed syllabus for all the students in every institution either private or public.

“A national conference of languages would soon be arranged on the lines of literary festival of mother languages,” he said.

Mahmood reminded the audience that though they were talking about educating children in their mother languages, and thinking about linguistic diversity, “our focus is on adopting one syllabus for educating all children of Pakistan.”

Today every institution has its own curriculum, which has divided the nation, the minister said. He said a unified national curriculum is being prepared and would likely be implemented from the next academic year at primary level.

The minister appreciated the efforts of ICF and PNCA for arranging the festival in which writers from all over Pakistan gathered and deliberated on promotion of mother languages.

PNCA DG Dr Fouzia Saeed in her thanking note offered PNCA premises and services for the promotion of art and artist.

She said that artist from across the Pakistan representing their respective languages was a great opportunity for promotion of regional languages adding she said mother languages needs to be recognized as national languages.

Earlier Zubaida Birwani of ICF highlighted the conclusion of the festival and said that government should take care of the mother languages which will strengthen the federation.

On the third day of the festival topics like translations of mother language literature, 21st century challenges to languages and roll of writers, launching of new short story's books in mother languages, history of journalism in mother languages, city profiles of in mother languages, documenting and preserving languages, mother languages digital age launching of new books on contemporary issues were discussed by the panels constituted of writers from all over Pakistan.

The festival concluded with the mesmerising singing performance by famous singer Hadiqa Kiyani who performed in different languages including Punjabi and Pashto.

PNCA may go commercial

In what seems to be the embodiment of the government’s efforts to lessen its financial burden, it has been proposed that the premier arts and culture council of the country could be run on commercial lines to meet its funding needs.

In this regards, the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) may start charging monthly registration fees from students who are seeking training by professionals.

Sources in the National History and Literary Heritage Division have informed The Express Tribune that they were mulling operating the council and its departments commercially so that it can raise its own funds.

As part of this move, students enrolling in different courses to learn skills and crafts such as dancing, singing, music, calligraphy, pottery, and drawing among others will be charged a monthly fee besides paying registration fees.

In return, training will be offered by certified professionals in their respective fields, the sources added.

A PNCA official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions, said that the council currently relies heavily on grants from the cash-strapped federal government to run different training programmes relating to arts, handicraft, music and dance.

The official added that the council is a national institution and as per the law, its training programmes must be offered free or at concessional rates while it should not run on a commercial basis.

Stating that the promotion of arts and culture was the responsibility of the government, he added that the federal government earmarks huge funds for PNCA every year.

The official criticised the move by stating that there is no precedent for such a move.

However, a PNCA spokesperson said that they were obliged to implement the orders of the government.

Justifying charged-programmes, he added that no private institution taught skills for free.


Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2020.



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