The following article, “Single National Curriculum: Prospects and Problems” is written by Shabnam Sattar, a student of Sir Syed Kazim Ali. Moreover, the article is written on the same pattern, taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory subjects for years. Sir Kazim has uploaded his students’ solved past paper questions so other thousands of aspirants can understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.
The national curriculum—a step towards a unified education system for all—can bring much-needed prosperity and stability to Pakistan. Still, there is a plethora of challenges and problems that impede its success. However, by implementing multi-pronged, composite, and effective strategies, the government could help the letter and spirit of the SNC flourish in the long run.
2- What is the Single National Curriculum, and what are its objectives?
- ✓All the children have equal rights to gain a high-quality education.
- ✓ It will Increase the Social Unity and National Incorporation.
- ✓ It will cause the Improvement of inequalities in education.
3- Features of the Single National Curriculum
- ✓3-Phases of development
- ✓Islamiate as a separate subject from grades 1- 12
- ✓Replacement of ethics with religious education for minority students
- ✓Alignment of maths and science with TIMSS (Trends in International Math and Science Study)
- ✓Implementation across all Public and Private schools and Madrassas
4- Previous categories of the education system in Pakistan
- ✓Private school system
- ✓Public school system
- ✓Madrassa school system
5- What are the Prospects of the Single National Curriculum?
- ✓Elimination of division and disparities in education in Pakistan
- Case in point: Finland has one of the best educational systems in the world. Finland has outperformed many well-known countries in areas like mathematics, science, and literacy.
- ✓Social harmony and national unity
- Case in point: According to the United Nations Development Program, France has one of the best unified national curriculums for promoting social equality.
- ✓Equal opportunities for top social mobility
- Case in point: According to the World Education Ranking,the Netherlands ranks 26th out of 38 countries.
- ✓Holistic development of children
- Case in point: The Chinese National Curriculum is a comprehensive syllabus that polishes the holistic development of Chinese students.
6- What are the Problems of the Single National Curriculum?
- ✓SNC and the conflict with the 18th Amendment of the Constitution of Pakistan
- Case in point: According to the 18th Amendment of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973 in 2010, education has been a provincial subject.
- ✓Educational inequalities lie in cultural and ethnic barriers in Pakistan
- Case in point: According to Pervaiz Hood-boy- a Pakistani nuclear physicist, cultural and ethnic barriers are the greater obstacles that lead to inequalities in the education system in Pakistan.
- ✓Low investment in the education sector for infrastructure investment
- Case in point: According to the State Bank of Pakistan, education expenditure for Pakistan is 2.38% of the GDP.
- ✓Parents’ poverty leads to children’s education poverty
- Case in point: According to the World Bank Report on Education poverty, due to the pandemic and poverty, at least 930,000 students are now out of school in Pakistan.
7- Critical analysis
Answer to the Question
The Single National Curriculum (SNC) is a framework that aims to standardise education across all schools in a country. It has the potential to promote equal access to education and foster national unity. However, challenges include resistance from stakeholders and adapting the curriculum to diverse regional needs. Although Pakistan has introduced its first unified national curriculum that can bring much-needed prosperity, it has also posed a profusion of problems that act as obstacles to progress. Undoubtedly, a uniform curriculum is of utmost significance, which may help the country eliminate educational divisions and disparities and create social harmony. Unfortunately, in Pakistan, the Single National Curriculum has faced many problems, like SNC contradicting the 18th Amendment of the Constitution of Pakistan and educational inequalities arising from cultural and ethnic barriers. However, the government of Pakistan can tackle all these problems with the help of some progressive strategies, like ensuring economic stability. The answer to this question comprehensively analyses the objectives, prospects, and problems of the Single National Curriculum.
The Single National Curriculum and its Objectives
The Single National Curriculum (SNC) is specifically envisioned as a step towards a unified education system for all in terms of curriculum, medium of instruction, and a common assessment platform to ensure equity and quality in education. As such, SNCs are expected to raise the bar for the quality of education provided, particularly in terms of content and substance of learning. The objectives of the SNC include ensuring that all children have equal rights to a high-quality education, increasing social unity and national incorporation, and improving inequalities in education.
Features of the Single National Curriculum
Three distinct systems of education and examinations are being followed in Pakistan: the public school system, the private school system, and the Deeni Madras education system. Each follows different curricula and assessment systems, resulting in various inequalities and disparities. Uniformity in curricula and standards has become a matter of great concern. The curriculum, textbooks, teacher education and training, examinations, and assessment are not an end in the education spectrum as a whole; rather, these are a means to an end. The ultimate end is the learning and acquisition of knowledge, skills, and dispositions for law, human rights, social norms, and traditions in line with divine guidance, the Constitution of Pakistan, and national and international obligations.
The Prospects of the Single National Curriculum
Elimination of division and disparities in education in Pakistan
Undoubtedly, the Single National Curriculum is a progressive step with many prospects for the country. First, it can eliminate a country’s division and disparities in education. According to a report, Finland has one of the best single national curricula in the world. Finland has outperformed many well-known countries in areas like mathematics, science, and literacy. However, the education system leads nations to the heights of glory and success.
Social harmony and national unity
Further, it promotes social harmony and national unity of a state. It is a matter of fact that national unity can lead the country towards prosperity and success, and SNC can prove effective in this way. According to the United Nations Development Program, France has one of the best unified national curriculums for promoting social equality. Hence, it is not wrong to say that a unified national education system can promote equality and equity in society.
Equal opportunities for top social mobility
Furthermore, the country can achieve equal opportunities for top social mobility through a progressive SNC. Nevertheless, many countries with federal structures have core curricula or national curriculum frameworks for school education or common standards for syllabi. Such countries include India, Nepal, China, Russia, Malaysia, Iraq, Nigeria, Australia, and Germany. According to the World Education Ranking, The Netherlands goes from being the most equal country in primary school reading scores to ranking 26th of 38 countries when children reach 15. Latvia, Ireland and Spain are the three most equal countries as far as the ending years of school are concerned.
Holistic development of children
Moreover, the holistic development of children is the need of the hour in Pakistan, and the SNC can provide a way to fulfil this need. However, holistic education is an approach that recognises the importance of a child’s social, physical, emotional, and spiritual development. According to the report from Aljazeera, the Chinese National Curriculum is a comprehensive syllabus that polishes the holistic development of Chinese students. Thus, through SNC, the government can enhance the abilities of Pakistan’s children.
The Problems of the Single National Curriculum
SNC and the Conflict with the 18th Amendment of the Constitution of Pakistan
Grimly, this morally attractive idea (SNC) has been hijacked, mutilated, and beaten out of shape by various problems. The SNC’s conflict with the 18th Amendment of the Constitution of Pakistan is one of its severe problems. For instance, according to the 18th Amendment of the Constitution of Pakistan of 1973, education has been a provincial subject. Therefore, it is intriguing to note the role and responsibility that the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training (MOFEPT) has assumed in crafting the Single National Curriculum, which is not its constitutional mandate.
Educational inequalities lie in cultural and ethnic barriers in Pakistan.
Second, it is a matter of fact that the educational inequalities lie in cultural and ethnic barriers in Pakistan. Undoubtedly, Pakistan is a state that is divided into different sections based on ideological, sectarian, and linguistic differences. This diversity in the community has become a challenge for the government to overcome such differences to implement a uniform curriculum. According to Pervaiz Hood-Boy, a Pakistani nuclear physicist, cultural and ethnic barriers are the greater obstacles that lead to inequalities in the education system in Pakistan. Hence,it is false that a hefty dose of piety education will somehow equalise the students of different cultures and religions.
Low investment in the education sector for infrastructure investment
Third, infrastructure investment is necessary for the government to enforce a uniform curriculum; however, this is a huge challenge. According to the State Bank of Pakistan, education expenditure in Pakistan is 2.38% of GDP. However, a Single National Curriculum isn’t just about the same syllabus and the same type of books, facilities, and teaching staff. Meeting this challenge requires significant financial backing to ensure equality in all mentioned areas.
Parents’ poverty leads towards children’s education poverty.
Fourth, poverty is a main factor that impedes parents from sending their children to school. Hence, parents’ poverty leads to children’s education being poor. According to the World Bank Report on Education Poverty, due to the pandemic and poverty, at least 930,000 students are now out of school in Pakistan. However, a stable economy is the only way to eradicate poverty from society. Therefore, SNC without a stable economy, is nothing but a castle in the air.
The SNC for Early Years aim to improve the quality of Pakistan’s early childhood education (ECCE) and equalise education. However, it lacks new insights and research in executive function, play-based learning, and systems approach. Despite this, the elimination of educational apartheid and access to quality education is crucial, requiring reform of the state education system.
In conclusion, the Single National Curriculum is centred on the notion of ‘one nation, one curriculum’, which, to begin with, is in itself an exclusionary and silencing slogan that denies the diversity of identities prevalent in Pakistan. Undoubtedly, the SNC has a broad and effective vision for the country, but it is not enough as a strategy to bridge the existing inequalities within Pakistan’s education system. Several other important issues need to be dealt with and addressed by the government first, as they are crucial for the success of SNC. As discussed above, the drop-out rates of girls and out-of-school children, the lack of trained teachers, and unsafe transportation services must be resolved. For all this to be taken care of, the government needs to increase investment in the education sector and not rely merely on policies and strategies to overcome educational disparities in Pakistan.
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