Lahore: It is necessary to keep in mind the Islamic values, civilisation and different Pakistani cultural units while preparing academic curriculum in Pakistan. Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board is committed to preparing such syllabus that meets the psychological, social, religious and national needs of children.
These views were expressed by speakers in a special seminar titled “Role of Curriculum in National Harmony” organised by Punjab School Education Department, Punjab Curriculum and Text Book Board and Mir Khalil ur Rahman Memorial Society, Jang Group of Newspapers.
Rana Mashhood Ahmad, provincial education minister chaired the event. Lt-General (R) Muhammad Akram, PCTB chairman, Moulana Raghib Naeemi, director, Jamia Naeemia, Lahore, Professor Dr Khalid Masood Gondal, vice-chancellor, Fatima Jinnah Medical University, Dr Zakria Zakir, VC, Punjab University, Hafeez Ullah Niazi, senior analyst, Geo TV, Peter Jacob, analyst and executive director of Social Justice Department, Professor Dr Rashid Zia, principal, Allama Iqbal Medical College and Chief MS, Jinnah Hospital, Lahore, Dr Lubna Zaheer, columnist, Daily Jang, Dr Naeem Khalid, educationist, Zubair Saeed and Mazhar Mehdi, publisher, were the guests of honour. Dr Allah Bakhsh, Punjab schools secretary delivered vote of thanks. Dr Mukhtar Ahmad, chairman, Higher Education, Islamabad, also shared his views with the participants. Wasif Nagi, chairman, Mir Khalil Ur Rahman Society, Jang Group of Newspapers, hosted the seminar.
Rana Mashhood Ahmad said there was much need to hold such seminars at different levels. He said the government was doing a lot of work in education sector. He said, "We enhanced the capacity of departments. At present, more than half a million children are studying in 53,000 schools. All teachers have been recruited on merit. Government is putting in all its resources to improve the education sector." There is great working under the supervision of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, he added. He also congratulated the PCTB on publishing a school magazine.
Dr Allah Bakhsh Malik said academic curriculum brought harmony in the country. Training is impossible without qualified teachers, he said.
Abdul Qayyum said, "A book is a source of spreading love. The difference is not wrong, but the disagreement should be done in a peaceful manner." For this purpose, the education minister organised different conferences and restricted hate material, he said, adding, "We will have to accomplish our dream of one country, one nation. All people will have to understand their duty." He also asked civil society to play its role.
Wasif Nagi said that education could improve the future of everyone. As children learn to count, write and read, their future as well as the future of their families and countries began to improve and the world slowly became a better place. Getting good education is the key to growth of people as it allows knowledge to be advanced from generation to generation, he added. He said curriculum should be made considering the needs of the country and of the future. The current government has kept education and health in its priorities. Students are given laptops, scholarships and opportunities to study aboard, he added.
General (R) Muhammad Akram said that education policy was made by keeping the national priorities of any country in mind. "In this seminar, we should highlight three tasks; what are the requirements of national harmony, what is the link between national harmony and education and third one is what should be the role of curriculum in national harmony. We are implementing somelaws for good. Insha Allah, we will achieve our objective of creating national harmony through curriculum."
Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad said that standardised curriculum should be included in HEC. New things are being introduced and reviewed. It depends on the universities how they make things better, he said.
Hafeez Ullah Niazi said, "A nation needs two basic things that are language and theory. These things make a nation possible." He said that he did not see any country where education was given in other languages. "Our nation is not being treated well. We have made education a business. There is still time, we can improve ourselves", he said.
Moulana Raghib Naeemi said it was much needed to make one educational curriculum for all in the country. Uniform policy should be implemented all over the country, he added.
Professor Dr Rashid Zia said, "At present, 80 percent population lives in the rural areas. We should also pay attention to it." Professor Dr Khalid Masood Gondal said, "We have got a message from this seminar that we are one nation. We have to pay attention to our country's needs."
Dr Lubna Zaheer said education should be the first priority. There is a need to make amendments to the curriculum. Peter Jacob said, "We should follow the Two-Nation Theory." In Pakistan, 2.6 percent population is non-Muslim. Education should not be taken as a business."
Dr Naeem Khalid said that we should pay attention to the curriculum taught in private schools. At present, 60 percent to 70 percent students go to private schools. There should be one curriculum for all. It would make things easier in future, he said.
Mazhar Mehdi said said a curriculum was not just about a list of different topics. How some topics are made practical for students is called curriculum. This includes information compatible with the psychology of students, he said.
Professor Dr Zakria Zakir said that we only talk about making amendments to the curriculum. We should also talk about teacher training, he added. Mumtaz Shah said that the government had done a lot of work in education sector. Government schools are performing better than before.
(Sitara Jabeen Butt)