Need for Education Sector Reform in Pakistan

Curriculum major hurdle to englightenment: report
Daily Times, September 4, 2007

LAHORE: A basic barrier in the process to enlighten the Pakistani society is the extremist content in the Pakistani education curriculum, Project Director of ‘Enlightened Pakistan’ Hamza Usmani said on Monday at Lahore Press Club. The group ‘Enlightened Pakistan’ is a social activist group made up of Pakistani high schools, college and university students. This group had prepared a report ‘Producing Thinking Minds’ criticising the new curriculum of various subjects, recently issued by the Education Ministry. The report also criticises the older textbooks of the Punjab Text Book Board, currently used to teach millions of students. Usmani said that the Pakistani education system is in a dismal state, the illiteracy rate is very high and the literate ones have received sub-standard education. He said that the Pakistani education system requires an overhauling and a long-term effort with clearly defined goals and dedicated resources. Textbook should be well designed to make them good learning tools, Usmani added. The report prepared by this group calls for abolishing the rote learning system, as it claims that students are not practically well equipped. The report also highlights that the content of the Pakistani curriculum does not prepare students for practical life and is a waste of time. Usmani said that the report also critiques the methods of assessment and the low quality of materials used in the Pakistani schools. Usmani said that the report looks at the historical stereotypes and biases that are promoted through textbooks by the government. The report further provides innovative solutions to eradicate the problems faced by the Pakistani education system. He said that we have requested the government to deal with this issue since this is a cause of extremism, intolerance and is an obstacle to peace. The group has sent copies of the report to President Pervaiz Musharraf, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, Federal Minister for Education Javed Ashraf Qazi and to the Educaiton Departments. staff report

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