Addressing ceremony, Pakistan’s prime minister claims Taliban have ‘broken the shackles of slavery’ in taking control of Afghanistan from elected government
Formally launching the first phase of the Single National Curriculum at a ceremony in Islamabad on Monday, Prime Minister Imran Khan hit out at what he described as the mindset of students in Pakistan who become “slaves” to foreign cultures in their desire for higher education.
Noting that English-medium education was very important for higher education, he claimed that instead of just learning the language, students adopted the culture as well. “If you’re adopting someone else’s culture, you’re basically saying their culture is better than your own,” he claimed. “Becoming a mental slave [to another culture] is worse than being physically enslaved,” he said, adding that it was more difficult to break the chains of “mental slavery.”
Referring to Afghanistan, he claimed the Taliban’s takeover of the country from the elected government in Kabul was them “breaking the chains of slavery.” He slammed the adoption of different cultures’ clothing, fashion. “An enslaved mind can never do great things,” he said, claiming only “original thinking” prospered in the world, not “copies.” Taking advantage of the English language, he claimed, meant adopting a student-teacher relationship wherein the student could also benefit the educator.
“These chains of slavery have to be broken,” he stressed, claiming the path to freedom lay in adopting a single national curriculum.
“This [SNC} will allow us to create a single mindset; a single nation,” he claimed, adding that this was now “irreversible.” He said that the government was aware of the difficulties it would face in implementing the SNC, but it would allow it to produce “one nation.”
Congratulating federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood and his team for the launch of the SNC, Khan declared that it was a culmination of 25 years of effort. Claiming that the existing system had led to a “class divide” in Pakistan, he lamented that the country’s civil service had once been restricted to those who had studied in English-medium educational institutions.
“[The British] created an English medium class with a singular goal of producing a group of people who were locals but thought like the British, [subscribed] to their culture,” he said, declaring it one of the biggest “injustices” perpetrated on Pakistan the decision to not implement a single educational system upon Partition.
Referring to his education at Aitchison College, he claimed that it was such a “different culture,” that students of his alma mater couldn’t even befriend those who had not passed through the same education structure. Falsely, he also claimed no other country had multiple mediums of instruction in their schooling system. “Around 800,000 students go into English-medium schools, while more than 3.25 million go into Urdu-medium, and 2.5 million into madrassas,” he said, claiming this created three different mindsets, virtually “three different countries.”
Acknowledging the difficulty of introducing a new system, the prime minister blamed his perpetual enemy “elites” for not wanting to change the existing structure. “The elite was benefiting; they had no incentive to change,” he said, claiming this was merely the “first step” in shifting from the status quo.
The prime minister also urged the education minister to expedite the process of teaching about the Life of Islam’s Prophet to grades 8-10 saying it should be implemented within 5-6 months. “Your timeline for 2023-24 is too long,” he said, stressing this must be “forced.”
Khan claimed that regardless of whether or not you were Muslim, you had to acknowledge the achievements of Islam’s Prophet. “The Quran teaches us to learn from the life of the Prophet (peace be upon him),” he said, adding this was “for our benefit.”
Stressing that it was the government’s responsibility to “show the way” to students, he claimed speedy implementation of such teachings would “develop the character” of youth, as they would learn the difference between good and evil. Similarly, he claimed, the world’s prevailing issues like climate change were a result of people’s greed and imparting teachings about the Prophet (PBUH) would teach youth “humanity.”
Non-Muslims, said Khan, should be taught their own religion instead of Islam.
Earlier, Mahmood said the first phase of national single curriculum had been implemented in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir. He said the government was working to convince the Sindh government to adopt it also.