Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Dormant and flawed curriculum of Punjab a cause of concern

By Fraz Ahmed Munis

Being a student of sociology, I have observed a lot of follies in our Punjab Text Book Board curriculum. If I go into the detail, about the existing course contents of intermediate there are a lot of things that reflect poorly.

It is shocking that since 1987 to 2008, the date of birth and death of Faiz Ahmed Faiz was incorrect. All the textbooks and helping books are the example of this disgraceful act and it is humiliating for those who are considered the ‘mentors’ and are selected for the accomplishment of curriculum.

What sort of message do we extract from such careless and irresponsible educationists? Such types of blunders indicate that our curriculum is neither scrutinized nor authenticated.

Apparently the technical, experienced and skillful teachers are being ignored and are being denied the opportunity to impart their services for the construction of the course content or the resource material for the textbooks.

The fabrication of our curriculum is illogical and it contains the poisonous ingredients which are becoming a colossal menace to the structure of education and requirements of the learners and society.

If we read the course contents of Urdu and English in intermediate, it is pathetic, ridiculous and disgusting. How we are brutally treating our educational system is revealed when we see the Urdu poems, fictions and short stories translated into English and being included in English textbook.

The stories written by Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi and Ghulam Abbas have not been completely reproduced. Obviously the incomplete story cannot covey the message in totality.

I fail to comprehend what’s the need to have the stories of Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi and Ghulam Abbas both in English and Urdu textbooks. What great our planners expect by repeating the same things?

The translation should have been avoided in prose as well as poetry. The verses are completely depleted with their actual spirit and essence. These verses are translated in such hilarious way that their original context and meanings have been completely lost.

What on earth compels our policy makers to do such childish acts as reveal their sheer ignorance and incompetence? The English literature is replete with shining and appealing writers, then, why we do inculcate our local literature into English irrationally. Every language has its own aesthetics and the inclusion of the translated pieces humiliate the sanctity of the languages and make it ugly.

There is a chapter Tashkeel-e-Pakistan in Urdu textbook, covering the Freedom Movement of Pakistan which is totally the same as being taught in Pakistan Studies too.

Why this repetition is? Has the Urdu literature nothing more informative to teach? Or the Urdu literature lacks depth? The repetition and irrelevant amendments in the curriculum should be avoided while promoting the educational culture.

The curriculum of any educational system is the symbol of “Justification for Existence” and “Mental Integration”, but we appear to be using it as an agent of social disintegration and mental fixation.

Three things are very important while designing a curriculum; Structure and nature of knowledge, need of learner and need of society.

There is a dire need for the construction of logical curriculum which truly reflects the presentation of philosophy of education leading towards goals and aims, specific instructional objectives and outcomes, task analysis and appropriate content selection and availability of genuine learning ecologies.

Now, it is the time for the serious speculations and prompt decisions for the planning of our curriculum. We should have to exempt the blurred and irrelevant contents. Subjects like biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics are very lengthy according to their time span, because from mid September to the end of March, these subjects cannot be injected into the minds of the students.

It can be made possible only because of teachers’ chauvinism and agony. Students have to carry this heavy load because if they refuse to carry this weight they will be declared as the deviants.

We have to avert the growing false perception about the irrational dichotomy of education and productive works. There is urgent need to take some timely measures to make our curriculum, ‘Demand-oriented’. “Academia liaison” with industry should be made possible in the course contents. Accessibility of updated texts, references, materials and degree of availability of novel studies should be induced.

Education plays its role in transmitting two different ways of thinking; the subject matter or discipline content of course( what to think) and the correct way to understand and evaluate this subject matter ( how to think).

But unfortunately in Pakistan, the respective academic disciplines cannot be set on the basis of proper thinking, sincerity, commitment and coordination. Our policy makers and curriculum setters go inconsistent and never bother to take a serious look on the deteriorated and dilapidated educational system. And, by the way, why do they take a headache for the betterment of education because their own children are mostly too far away from this miserable education system. Isn’t it?

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