The Pakistan Peoples Party had promised in its election manifesto to revise the curriculum being taught in all levels at public schools. True to its promise, the Sindh government had earlier revised the curriculum for classes one to four.
A meeting on Thursday, presided over by the provincial minister for education and literacy Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, discussed key points for the new curriculum which is to be taught in public schools from class five to eight. It was attended by notable educationists including Dr Muhammad Memon, the chairperson of Aga Khan University’ Institute of Education Development and Prof Jaffar Ahmed, the director of Pakistan Studies Centre at the Karachi University, among others.
Speaking to the media, the minister said that after the 18th Amendment, Sindh became the first province to pass the landmark legislation in terms of article 25a, which guaranteed free education to children between five to 16 years of age.
“After this, we took up the task of reviewing the curriculum taught in schools, purging it of hate material and introducing a teaching methodology which garners the interests of students,” said Khuhro.
In this regard Edhi, Malala and Arfa Karim have been added to the list of national heroes. “History books will be checked for historical inaccuracies and our advisory board will help decide an unbiased course for history,” said the minister.
He added that a chapter on ethics was added to the class-two book, while in class four, bits of the constitution and sports heroes will be taught to students.
The Pakistan Studies book for secondary school from the Sindh Text Board has several historical shortcomings, and often makes sweeping statements such as blaming the Hindus for the fall of Dhaka.
Revised school books for classes one to four have been distributed in all public schools of Sindh, said the minister. “In order to ensure transparency, we asked all head teachers to send the education department videos and photographs of the distribution ceremony,” he said.
The new books, however, remain missing from the markets depriving students from private schools of the revised curriculum.
For his part, the minister denied that there was any shortage of books. “Last year, we published 250 million books. This year, we published 275 million books, which also points to an increased rate of enrolment in schools,” he said.
He added that on August 5, a second meeting will be held regarding the revision of curriculum for middle schools. “By April next year, the revised books will be ready to be taught in the new session,” he said.
It was also stated that for deaf and mute children, a syllabus will be available in sign language. “Teachers will be trained to teach these special children, so that a special child even in a faraway village gets education.”
The minister said that after the school curriculum was revised, legislation will be passed with guidelines to be followed for any further revision in the curriculum.
In the question and answer session, the minister said that 1,800 closed schools have been opened this year. Moreover, 20,000 more teachers have been given offer letters through which it is expected that 3,000 more schools will be opened. “In order to encourage female teachers to join the profession, we have given 20 percent extra marks to all female candidates who passed the test.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 25th, 2014.