The Obsolete Curriculum a Curse

Despite, big claims of allocating huge chunks of budget to education and launching laptop schemes, unfortunately the government has miserably failed to fulfill its obligation with regards to providing education to masses which is its utmost responsibility as per article 25-A of constitution of Pakistan.

Unavailability of educational institution to a large population is no doubt a real and bitter truth but the obsolete curriculum being taught at school, college and university level is a grave issue which requires immediate attention from those sitting at the helm of affairs in education departments.

The education at public sector schools is non-existent at large. Hence, the void created by government is fulfilled by private sector at school and university level but it works on traditional as sacred, the old-fashion and unproductive teaching methodologies.

Recently my niece appeared in Class 1X exams of Board of Secondary Education Karachi. While helping her in preparations of some of her papers, I was shocked to realize that she is still studying the same books that I studied 26 years ago while I was in my matriculation exams.

Besides, I was surprised that the pattern of setting question papers was not revised nearly two decades ago. Students today are also preparing for exams by following the same decades old methods of buying five year papers and learning and practicing those questions which they consider important on the basis of these five years papers. Students in our system are programmed in such a way that barring a very few, no one bothers to read course books thoroughly.

Our current books contain outdated information, factual mistakes and use of old language which is no more in use in the present age. An example of factually incorrect information is on page 124 of Pakistan studies book where they have mentioned Urdu as most common language of coordination instead of mentioning it as national language of Pakistan.

The only visible change in last 30 years in the Senior Secondary School (S.S.C) exams is the introduction of computer course for those students who want to avoid the subject of biology in S.S.C part -1 (Class IX). Biology is a vast subject and can be beneficial for students in their daily lives. Unfortunately, students are given this impression that Biology is only beneficial for those who want to pursue medical profession in future. This misperception prompts many students to skip Biology and take up the subject of computer in its replacement. Teaching computers is good move, as survival without electronic gadgets seems impossible in this era of technology but like the courses of other subjects, the standard of computer’s curriculum is also very low. While going through the book of computer, I realized that this book contains those chapters which are taught in grade III or in grade-IV in many high-end private schools.

Like many other subjects, no change is made in the books of English, taught at this level. In last 30 to 40 years, many things have changed, many new heroes and inspirational personalities have appeared and it is better that we include them in our curriculum information about people such as Dr. Ruth Katherina Martha Pfau, Parveen Rehman and other personalities of current era.

Our education system is such that it kills thinking and creativity process and inculcates one point thinking in the minds of student that they can pass exams by rote learning of everything. Some students do the unthinkable by learning the solution of math’s questions because they know that person setting the paper will give questions from the book as it is out of question that they will bother to give little twist to question in order to check student’s thinking capability.

For last few years a certain group of people are making all the noises to bring change in course of Islamic studies and Pakistan studies but I strongly believe that our curriculum needs complete overhauling not in few selected subjects but in all subjects to prepare students to face the future challenges at the national and international level.

Right now three different types of education systems are in place in Pakistan. In last 8 to 10 years, a surge is visible in schools offering Cambridge education and due to lack of trust in local education system; people are moving towards this system of education.

There are private school systems with good and bad schooling techniques which are based on local boards and the third one is government schools with no access of education and access.

I fear that if the level of curriculum at all level of studies are not improved, students coming out from Cambridge system of studies will dominate job and business market and will create more hurdles for students coming from local system. And, our society will further disintegrated in the space of haves and haves-not.

The opinions expressed by the Blogger are his/her alone, and do not reflect the policy or the viewpoint of Daily Times

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