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One nation, one curriculum?

Pakistan is set to mandate the Single National Curriculum. From where I see it, the very idea of “one nation, one curriculum” is based upon a flawed foundation that having the same curriculum would solve all the problems. It seems like another attempt by the federal government to control the narrative of education.

What is the narrative?

I was looking at the PTCB resources available online for early grades (K-3). The grade 1 Urdu Book teaches the alphabets in the first few chapters and the first thing it teaches to read in sentences, phrases are Naa’at and Hamd. This is just one example; a research by Nayyar and Salim scans through all social studies books which depict citizenship synonymous to religious identity. I remember using Hindus and Indians alternatively in my history exams. My teachers did not correct me. Following this Muslim nationalist narrative, I don’t know how ‘other’ minority groups must have would have felt. I wonder if this curriculum really going to end the ‘apartheid of education’. It is creating only a baseline that each educational institute needs to follow.

Is it really a curriculum or just a fancy name for National Educational Policy? Following 18th Amendment, education is a matter to be handled by the provinces then what is the federal government trying to do. On one hand, SNC aims to curtail the religious context of the curriculum, while on the other it is introducing a separate Nazra class in addition to Islamiat.

Finally, Pakistan has suffered from lack of proper implementation. It does not matter how carefully designed a curriculum is, if the teachers are not properly trained and prepared, school leadership is not qualified and facilities are not available, this would just be a ‘good plan’.

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