Differences between the curriculum taught in government and private schools has created huge confusion among different stakeholders. This has put the low income young students future at risk.
According to an interview with Nadir Khan, principle of a government primary school Muslimabad, in which he has expressed his views on the curriculum and said that the current curriculum which is thought is absolutely crucial and it is the need of an hour, he said
“The curriculum offered at government schools has many advantages. It is well researched and easily understandable for students of that age group and their mental level, whereas if we look at curriculum taught at private schools it is much more complex, having the English language as its only advantage. It has social implications on the lives of the students. One of these could be that the students will be good in English but will be weak in mathematics and Urdu”, he added.
He further said that the curriculum of government and private schools should be same because if a student wants to take admission in private school they would be able to adjust to the circumstances more quickly. It is unfortunate that the private schools are using a series of different curricula, which turn out to be a burden on students, especially on those belonging to rural areas. Private schools in rural areas have become a money minting industry. These schools don’t have enough teachers with the capacity to teach the complex curricula, while the cultural context of the students is also not favorable.
Talking about the advantages he said, the biggest advantage of the same curriculum will be that all the students irrespective of rich and poor will be studying the same course, students belonging to government schools will be able to compete with those students who study at private schools.
A private school principal, Masal Khan (Bright Hall) also agreed that the curriculum offered is too complex and there is also no uniformity in private school curricula. At the same time he praised their own curriculum, criticizing the government schools’ curricula as being “outdated and obsolete. “I think all the stakeholders should develop a consensus to offer the same curriculum. They should also keep in mind the threshold of students, and shouldn’t simply offer alien material. The accommodation of modern trends and the uniformity of syllabi is an imperative to ensure the bright future of the childern,” he added.
When asked, the parents of children expressed their concerns over the quality of education at government schools. Most of the parents from rural areas were themselves uneducated and didn’t have any idea of curricula. But they were surely not happy with the educational facilities in government schools. They were of the opinion that neither were their proper schooling available nor were the teachers well behaved.
Ihsan Ullah Daudzai, a social worker and member of civil society was of the opinion that neither the government nor the private schools’ curricula are according to the necessities of time. If the former is obsolete the latter is too complex to meet the needs of the students at the present standards. There is need to develop uniform curricula for all. This will ensure equality of opportunity. There should also be an evaluation and monitoring system in place to ensure quality and progress.
Dr Noor Sana Ud Din at the department of sociology, University of Peshawar says that inequality in the education system intensify social inequality. This is not a simple problem, nor is it a simple issue. It is important to ensure equal opportunities through offering uniform education system. If this is not ensured, there is every possibility that we might have a rise in crime due to disgruntled youth who could not compete with students educated in private institutions.
Since the government of KP has education as its top priority, a government official in the education department expressed his satisfaction with the existing government school curricula. As for the private schools it is not easy to convince the owners to change their syllabi in accordance with the government schools’ curricula.
To sum it up, it is not about this or that curricula. It is about the future of the students. The government should ensure quality education for each and every student. If the private curricula have benefits for the youth, the government should make sure that the government schools should rise to that standard. If the government sees any fault in the private system, it is their responsibility to correct it. There is no middle way. The only way is to make sure that each and every child gets the best education and the best opportunities to compete. If this is ensured the present and future of the people in this country is safe. If not, we are in big trouble.
Contributed by Haroon Awan & Azam Rehman