Education, Development, and Change
Email Dr. Shahid Siddiqui

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dr Jan e Alam Khaki on Myth of One Curriculum

Dear Dr Sahib,

It was refreshing to see your article in Dawn on curriculum. It is quite interesting and rightly taken up for projection. Your one statement is very important and needs to be taken up for further discussion. The statement is that in Pakistan we have a tendency to simplify what is by nature very complex subjects. Like the curriculum, for example, religion, islam, Shari’a, huubul watani, Pakistan , ideology, etc, etc. I believe that the Pakistani mindset has been nurtured on unity rather than plurality. You see life is so complex and human experiences of life are so complex that they cannot be explained by single formula. Imagine the exaple of the appeal of many leaders, ‘ you forget that you are Punjabi, Baloch or Padhn, just remember you are Pakistani.”

I find this statement totally absurd because it is unnatural. We all know ourselves as Punjabis or Phathans first and historically even Pakistan comes later and our ethnicity comes before. I believe that unless we help people to live in diversity and seek diversity rather than just singularity or single way of thinking, we are going to create a mess in this country. Similarly, in the context of Islam, we think if we become one sect then all the problems of the Muslims will be solved at once. Even when the Prophet was alive even at that time there were multiple groups with multiple interests, like the Ansars and Muhajirs, Aus and Khazraj, Jews and Christians, and what have you. And these had not disappeared at once the Prophet started preaching. This is just one example, I share with you.

Similarly, we think if we teach all our children the same things at the same level and for the same purpose, we’ll be creating monkeys and robots in Pakistan. I therefore believe that while it may be desirable to have some subjects in common but the nuances will also differ. Imagine, teaching one subject in the valley of Hunza and in an advanced city like Lahore . It is simply recipe for disaster. Thank you Dr sahib, for highlighting such a crucial subject.

By the way, the other day, I saw another review of your article in Dawn March 7, 10 with the image of the book by one Ismat Riat with the title spread the Word. I am sure you must know that it had come. I think the review is well written.

With regards,

Dr Jan-e-Alam Khaki