It’s designed to do away with choice and flexibility!
The problems with SNC are not just limited to how it is being adopted by textbook publishers and its corresponding visual and textual integration into the books that are ultimately going get consumed by our children during their formative years. Criticizing “women’s clothes” and heavy inclusion of religious content is important, but that problem is not something new and the fact remains, many pre-existing problems have transferred to the new curriculum without much redressal to previous grievances. In fact, over-criticizing and redundancy of commentary is going to overshadow that actual problems this curriculum is going to bring in all our education streams. I am seeing many people conflating different issues in textbooks (under SNC or not), and are therefore unable to understand the real trouble and controversy of SNC; that is of taking away the choice of parents/children and communities by imposing it on all schools. Punjab School Department has even threatened to revoke licenses of schools not adopting SNC (a ridiculous notion; given the fact that Punjab has the worst case scenario for out of school children and insufficient school infrastructure).
There are many communities that have various needs and preferences. They have their own internal diversities. They will respond better under a system that is flexible that they can define as per their economic or spiritual needs. The government can only play its role in making sure there is no crime, hate-speech and no discrimination in schools. It should also play its vital role in preventing financial exploitation of and by the education community. The learning standards cannot be homogenized, but they could be improved through a healthy competition and a rationalized approach based on learning-gap assessments. A curriculum’s role is not and cannot be anything more than that of an enabler, to materialize access to different streams of education and knowledge.
So before you demean and admonish all SNC critics as being elitist and snobbish; please know that its design and the way this policy is being imposed will bring more chaos, and that curriculum is not the answer to end education apartheid.
And if you are already a critic, then before posting about it, please be sure that you express it in light of:
- The crisis of learning poverty and SNC presented as a “savior”
- the unaddressed reasons for very high ratio of school drop-outs
- The illogical sequencing of topics–what are the curriculum experts saying?
- Indoctrination and teaching of religion
- Pre-existing problems that continue remain unaddressed (eg. article 22-1 violation, historical lies and misinformation, and possibility of hate-speech)
- Why can’t quality education be accessible and affordable instead of making it more and more exclusive?
SNC is not the law. SNC to be implemented as a uniform, homogenized policy is impossible. And that is all. Thank you.
(Picture credit: The Nation stock photos)