Education minister says government wants madrassa students to have same employment opportunities as other pupils
The government’s single national curriculum for elementary schooling will develop national cohesion in Pakistan, Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said on Friday.
Addressing a press conference in which he presented his ministry’s two-year progress report, Mahmood said that all schools in the country would teach the same curriculum for grades one through five from April next year. He said the government was also developing model textbooks to ensure that there were no differences in schooling between different institutions.
The education minister said that the government had engaged with madrassas in the development of the single national curriculum, adding that a mechanism had been devised to ensure that madrassa students received the same schooling as students in public and private schools. He said this would help provide madrassa students with the same employment opportunities as students of other institutions.
Summarizing the “revolutionary” steps taken by his ministry in the past two years, Mahmood claimed that in addition to the single national curriculum, an inter-provincial education ministers’ forum had been made functional to achieve consensus decisions for the educational sector’s development.
He said the Hunarmand Jawan Program would promote technical skills among youth, and that vocational training programs had also been initiated in this regard. He said the National Accreditation Council would provide oversight of vocational training institutes.
On the state of higher education, the education minister said that under the Ehsaas program, 50,000 university students would receive scholarships annually. Similarly, he said, the government had initiated programs to provide training to nurses.
Referring to Pakistan’s coronavirus response, the minister hailed the government’s united response to the challenges facing the education sector. He said it had been decided to shut all educational institutions during the pandemic and a consensus had been developed to reopen them from Sept. 15. He reiterated that a review meeting would be held on Sept. 7 to ensure COVID-19 remained on the decline and it was safe to reopen educational institutions.
Mahmood said that due to the pandemic, four million students of grades nine through 12 had been promoted to the next class without exams. He said the government had also launched a Teleschool on April 7, and online classes had commenced for higher education. Hailing this development, he said the government had formed a new department to continue developing remote education to ensure people from across the country—especially residents of remote regions—could continue receiving education without any hindrance.