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September 22, 2010
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Reservations voiced over compulsory Pashto teaching plan

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September 22, 2010

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PESHAWAR: The representatives of smaller languages of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Tuesday expressed reservations over the provincial government’s plan to introduce compulsory Pashto teaching at schools, terming the move against the basic human rights, constitution of the country and United Nations principles.
In a statement, ‘MOTHER’ (Mother Tongue and Heritage for Education and Research), a body that represents the smaller languages of the province, said the speakers of smaller languages of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were concerned at the provincial government plan to introduce compulsory Pashto teaching at schools up to Grade-10 to all children including those who had their own respective languages, as it was against the basic human rights, constitution of Pakistan and United Nations principles.
The statement said any decision on language teaching should be taken keeping in view the linguistically and culturally diverse population of the province as the constitution guaranteed the right of all the people to preserving and promoting their languages and cultures.
Being a member state of the United Nations, Pakistan has international obligation of preserving and promoting local languages and cultures. The KP government’s plan to force non-Pashto speaking children learn Pashto is against the declared UN principles that stress respect for all languages to ensure peaceful coexistence, said the statement. It urged the government to set up an institution to work for the development of smaller languages instead of making steps for their retardation.
It said there were districts in the province where Pashto was not the first language while several districts such as Peshawar, Kohat, Nowshera and some others had mixed population. The organisation called for following the mother language criteria while introducing compulsory Pashto teaching. It said other children should be given an option of studying their mother tongue.

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