The Single National Curriculum (SNC) - A Media Perspective on Curriculum and Conflict

The role of the Pakistani media in influencing opinions on government policy should not be understated. The Single National Curriculum is an example where state media can be used to twist the narrative around policymaking tools.


The Government Narrative


The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Government has hastily made the SNC Plan public. In the process, the PTI has used the media effectively to push a rosy image of the SNC. According to the government, the tagline for promoting the SNC is "One Nation, One Curriculum". Essentially, they have been able to push the narrative that the SNC is a unifying force that solves the problem of inequality in our education system.

Using Pakistan National Television (PTV) and their social media cell, the PTI has been successful in generating public buy-in regarding the decision to implement SNC. They've not been keen to release or discuss the full details of the SNC implementation plan; rather, they've focused on making broad populist claims such as how the SNC can remove inequalities and create a level playing field, and why that is noble step.


At best, this is a classic case of governments overselling their policies. At worst, this is a case of spreading misinformation by concealing key details about the SNC Plan.

The Nuanced Reality


In my opinion, the reality is that the SNC, on its own, cannot do much with regards to reducing inequality. This is because the differences in the quality of religious and mainstream schools, or public and private schools, is not a function of curriculum. Rather, as Farhatullah Babar states, "No matter what curriculum is adopted, the inequality between 22 million out of school children and those enrolled will not disappear." To reduce inequality in the truest sense, the government must focus on infrastructural development in order to create proper buildings and facilities for all students, on teacher training in order to ensure that higher-order thinking in encouraged in all kinds of schools, and on practical steps to put the millions of out of school children in school.


Conclusion


Using the media to push a narrative that the SNC is the golden ticket to solving inequality is disingenuous. Public buy-in into this narrative allows the government to slack off on meaningful policy measures that will actually solve the issue of inequality within our education system.


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