Monday June 27, 2022

‘Efforts to centralise education tantamount to violating Constitution’

By Our Correspondent
May 19, 2022

A group of curriculum experts and educationists on Wednesday while addressing a press conference at the Karachi Press Club said that centralisation of education was a violation of the provincial autonomy guaranteed by the Constitution of Pakistan after the 18th amendment.

The experts, who belonged to Islamabad, Punjab and Sindh, gathered in Karachi at the invitation of the National Commission for Justice and Peace to observe and document concerns over the Single National Curriculum and other lapses in the country’s schooling to provide relevant suggestions to the government.

Earlier, they held a meeting with Sindh Education Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah and Head of the Curriculum Wing at the School Education and Literacy Department Dr Fouzia Khan.

After the meeting, the educationists, who included Zeeba Hashmi, Shakeel Ahmed, Dr AH Nayyar, Peter Jacob, Dr Riaz Shiekh and others, held the press conference, in which they stated that the Sindh government was setting the right direction by taking ownership of its school curriculum formed with due regard for the existing ethnic and religious diversity in the province.

However, they also observed that there was still a need for enhancing inclusivity in education especially with respect to religious minorities and marginalised groups in Sindh. They suggested that the curriculum should be in line with international standards.

The press conference was told that the Article 22 of the Constitution of Pakistan must not be violated as it promised safeguards for religious minorities in the learning environment. The government should not allow embedding religious content in compulsory subjects, the educationists said.

For meaningful consultative processes to adopt a qualitative and inclusive education policy, the experts called for the Sindh government to functionalise and enhance the working of its newly established commission on educational reforms to review all previous and existing policies, plans, curricula, and learning material for improvements.

They expressed the hope that the newly formed government in the Centre would make sincere efforts for saving education from deterioration. They stressed the need for making a realistic assessment of the current learning poverty in the country and understanding what policy shortfalls were responsible for an increase in the number of out-of-school children and dropout rate.