In line with his vision to end educational disparity, Prime Minister Imran Khan has launched the first phase of the Single National Curriculum (SNC) for students of grade 1 to grade 5.
Speaking on the occasion on Monday, the premier said it was his “vision to bring a uniform syllabus and end the class-based education system”.
Imran said Pakistan is the “only country in the world” that is using three types of syllabuses in private schools, public schools and religious seminaries.
He said he knew that bringing a uniform curriculum will be a difficult task as the “elite system will not allow this change”, however, the premier assured that the process that has been started is “irreversible”.
The prime minister said the SNC will lead the Pakistan youth towards “one direction and rid them of the invasion of foreign cultures”. He asked Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood to enforce the uniform syllabus for these grades by the end of this year.
Imran also said this will also help the youth understand religion better so they cannot be misled by elements who “misinterpret the religion for their vested interests”.
The prime minister elaborated and said that minorities will also be provided with opportunities to learn about their respective religions.
In his remarks on the occasion, the education minister said the first phase of the uniform curriculum has been implemented in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir.
The federal minister hoped that the Sindh government would also agree to implement the SNC.
Single National Curriculum
The uniform curriculum has been developed by National Curriculum Council, Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, in consultation and collaboration with education departments of all federating units of the country.
The SNC is being developed and released in three phases. In the first phase, a plan for grades Pre-1 to 5 (the academic year 2021-22) will be implemented. In the second and third phases, grades 6 to 8 (2022-23) and grades 9 to 12 (2023-24) will follow the new curriculum, respectively.
The development of SNC is driven by key considerations such as teachings of the Holy Quran and Seerat-e-Nabwi, Pakistan’s constitutional framework, national policies with their aspirations and standards, alignment with Sustainable Development Goals, Quaid and Iqbal’s vision, a focus on values, respect for diversity in cultures and religions, and the development of 21st-century skills including analytical, critical, and creative thinking.
The process for developing the SNC entailed both a comparative review with curricula from other countries and consensus-building within Pakistan following a consultative process.
As the first step, multiple comparative studies were conducted to align the SNC draft with international standards. These standards were taken from curricula followed in Singapore, United Kingdom, Malaysia and Indonesia, and findings were incorporated in the SNC draft.
A consultative process with stakeholders including representation from the public sector, private sector, madaris and cantonment and Garrison boards across Pakistan was being followed.
The provincial and area workshops were subsequently held in all federating units. Finally, a National Conference was held in Islamabad where consensus on the final draft of the curriculum was secured.
The model textbooks based on the SNC besides the teacher training modules have also been developed for grades Pre-1 to 5. These have been shared with all federating units to support the timely implementation of the SNC on the ground.
The curriculum documents for SNC phase-II (grades 6 to 8) are close to completion, following a similar consultative process. The curriculum will be ready for implementation in the academic year 2022-23.
The time in between will be utilised to make quality textbooks for all schools, with participation from public and private sectors as needed.
Finally, phase III (grade 9 to 12) will be developed and implemented in year 2023-24. Under SNC, English will be taught as a language with a focus on skills.
In Islamiat, new themes of “Muamilaat” and “Islam Aur Daur e Hazir ke Taqazay” have been added. The experts from all factions of Ittehad Tanzimatul Madaris Pakistan were part of the consultation process.
To ensure intra-faith harmony, the SNC focuses on what is common between schools of thought and avoids promoting religious differences.
The practical aspects of Seerat have a special focus in the SNC, particularly in terms of how they apply to the lives of our young generation.
These include taking care of the planet, water conservation, rights of the elderly, citizenship, respect for religious and cultural diversity and values of honesty and hard work.
For students from minority faiths, a separate curriculum with the title Religious Education has been developed. Five major religions are represented, with an individual curriculum for each including Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Baha’i and Kalash.
Social Studies has been developed to “encourage patriotism, global citizenship, human rights and peace”.