There’s been a lot of conversation around the newly released Single National Curriculum textbooks for grades 1 to 5. And, people have taken every chance to criticize, praise, and question the textbooks altogether. Even now, many of the citizens are confused about a lot of things in them.
So, the Digital Media Wing of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting arranged a webinar with Dr. Mariam Chughtai – Director of the National Curriculum Council to address the confusions that people had around the content of the textbooks. The webinar was hosted by Shahbaz Khan – Director Communications, Digital Media Wing.
The Mechanism for improving the content inside the textbooks, and the way to address the inherent gender biases in teachers now that the students have a single national curriculum
“This is the first step in the right direction, and there’s definitely much room for improvement here,” said Dr. Chughtai while addressing one of the many questions. She then elaborated that there would be an online feedback system where people who believe are experts in the field of education and feel their opinion is important would be taken into a feedback committee.
As far as the teacher training is concerned, she said, “our primary focus, for now, is on the curriculum and the textbooks, later we will move on to grooming the teachers.” We will use technology to train each teacher according to his or her local needs because the biases vary from person to person, so we will have to consider those as well.
Some talk about gender diversity in textbooks
Taking the feedback about gender diversity in a positive manner, the director for the national curriculum pointed out that this is an ongoing process, and we will try to give girls more representation in the textbooks.
Religious references in the textbooks and character building through characters of a particular religion
Dr. Chughtai pointed out that inculcating the character of a certain religion to teach students the values of life does not force them to convert. She also highlighted that giving religious references in model textbooks is not a violation of the constitution of Pakistan. This practice is for character development only and does not aim towards forced conversions.
“Yes, the learning can be done through the inclusion of other religions as well, and not only Islam, so that feedback is well-taken. We will surely work on that once we get to the process of revising the textbooks,” she confirmed.
Madaris to get 5-6 years for implementation of the Single National Curriculum
This is the first time the students of the madaris will be learning these basic eight subjects and that too in English. On top of that, they will have to take the exams for all the subjects in the eighth standard, so this is a huge shift for them.
“We must give them credit for being on board with us on the SNC, but we must consider the fact that this transition is difficult, and we must give them some leverage,” she said.
In her concluding remarks, Dr. Chughtai mentioned that the National Curriculum team is open to ideas, and it will keep working to improve the education system in Pakistan.
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