KARACHI: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) education policy comes with a solid background of statistics. It is a good approach to have the medium of teaching as either Urdu or a local language until class eight. As an educationist, I would advise that teaching of English as a subject should start from class three. A child, whose first language skills are properly developed, finds it easy to absorb other languages.
English should be regarded as a tool to help acquire specialised knowledge. From class nine onwards, it should be taught as a foreign language. Sweden achieved the highest level of competence (68.91 per cent) in the EF English Proficiency Index 2012 out of 54 countries by teaching it as a subject (starting from class three) and preserving the local language for instruction.
I suggest that from class nine to the higher secondary level, the medium of instruction, as well as textbooks, should be in the national language (for uniformity) with technical terms in English. Descriptive and explanatory parts are easy to translate and this is what a student finds hard to comprehend.
The PTI’s emphasis on technical and vocational training is commendable. We should follow the example of Germany, which after unification, invested heavily in vocational training and within a very short time, became a leading exporter of machinery. We should link our trade skills programme with industry. It will boost our industrial production, as well as increase employment.
Mohammed Hanif Khan
Published in The Express Tribune, February 27th, 2013.