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Should education be Centrally Administered?

This is perhaps the most important question today with respect to education in Pakistan. The Single National Curriculum proposed by the current government aims to make education uniform for every child in Pakistan. However, the real question is: Is this even possible? And if it is, is it something desirable and just in the Pakistani context?


Pakistan has an extremely diverse population. It has 4 provinces, about 70 languages, about 6 major ethnicities and vastly contrasting geographic locations. Although, Pakistan is over 96% Muslim, there are many different sects and belief systems within the overarching branch of Islam. So is it even possible to bring all of these groups to the table and devise a curriculum that satisfies each groups demands? Will there be a just representation for everyone or will certain minority and counter-mainstream voices be lost in the process. I believe that a single national curriculum will only echo the drum of the large majority and the ideology of the state and will suppress the voices of the marginalized. However, it might level the playing field to a certain extent by giving the same launching pad to every child (I am deliberately ignoring the intersectionality's of other forms of inequality) and homogenize the population.


And this is a fundamental decision that Pakistan has to make. Should it prioritize a unified national identity and thereby attempt to reduce the growing inequality between the various groups by introducing the SNC. Or should it celebrate the rich ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic diversity by delegating the task of education and devising curriculum among local communities and only attempt to facilitate their efforts. I gravitate towards the latter solution since I am a huge skeptic of big government and their interventions in the lives of individuals, however this won't be a hill I'm willing to die on.




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I would say that both the recommendations can be implemented together. It is happening in other countries like France, China etc. We can celebrate the rich ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic diversity and reduce the growing inequality between the various groups by introducing the SNC.

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Yes that would be ideal. But to introduce a curriculum that does both fairly seems to be a mammoth task. And as for countries like France, China I am not sure what you said is entirely true. They use their education to assimilate/integrate the minority or refugee populations into the dominant ideology of their nation state and have done that very successfully.

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While I was reading your post, I remembered that podcast we discussed in the class. we discussed that averages may seem normal, but when we look at the averages, extremes are ignored, specially the marginalized communities always got missed in the averages. one biggest problem with SNC is of the language as well as you said. Everyone here in Pakistan is not Urdu speaking or does not understand English. And I am assuming, medium of instruction for SNC and the curriculum itself will be in English and Urdu. That will affect the learning process of children due to language barriers.

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Me and my group presented on the issue of language. If you were in the class, you probably have the answer to your question, but if you did not then we are going to post our presentation very soon here. I would encourage you to look at it.

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In my opinion, if the government takes the right steps, then SNC can be implemented and at the same time, rich ethnicity, religious and cultural diversity can also be celebrated. This will be a difficult step but is not impossible.

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Zersh Salman
Zersh Salman
Aug 22, 2021
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I'm curious to know what you think about the idea of setting a minimum standard through the SNC and allowing local authorities to extend the curriculum according to their relevent contexts

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