By Uzma Zafar
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday launched the Single National Curriculum at a ceremony in Islamabad, where he spoke about how cultural imposition is tantamount to ‘mental slavery’, saying Afghans had “broken the shackles of slavery”.
His comments come as the Taliban effectively take control of Afghanistan after days of rapid advances in the country. The premier criticised the two parallel systems of education in the country, saying the existence of “English medium” schools had led to the adoption of “someone else’s culture” in Pakistan.
“When you adopt someone’s culture, you believe it to be superior and you end up becoming a slave to it,” he stressed.
The premier said becoming a mental slave was worse than being an actual slave, adding that subjugated minds can never take big decisions.
Talking about the SNC his government officially launched Monday, the premier said people from “status quo” will make all-out attempts to obstruct implementation of the SNC across the country with arguments equating the move to “ruining of the education system”.
Under the SNC, a uniform curriculum will be introduced at all educational institutions at primary and secondary levels across the country in different phases, except Sindh, which has some reservations and the federal government is in talks with the provincial government to resolve the issue.
Government and private publishers have also been issued no-objection certificates to publish books for the SNC. “I had a vision to introduce the Single National Curriculum, but the elites making the most of the current system will not change that easily,” Imran said.
“When you acquire English medium education, you adopt the entire culture and it’s a major loss because you become slave to that particular culture,” he said.
The prime minister said elites in Pakistan had their children enrolled in English medium institutions and it had become a status symbol, which created “class divisions”. He recalled that introduction of English medium education by the British rulers was aimed at enforcing their culture for their own mileage. “Our class divisions were formed only on basis of an English education,” he regretted. He said the youth willing to join civil service could not do so if they had not studied in English medium schools.
PM Imran said a decision had also been taken to teach the life of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) from grades eight to 10. He, however, told the education minister that the plan to introduce the course by 2024 was too late, adding that it should be implemented in five to six months.
The premier said students from other religions should be taught about their religions, adding that “all religions preached humanity”.
At a press conference Sunday, Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood had said the SNC had been launched from classes one to five in public and private schools as well as seminaries in all provinces except Sindh. He had said that from next year, the SNC would be introduced for classes six to eight and in 2023, for classes nine to 12.