Fri. Jun 14th, 2024
Tayib Jan Co-founder & Managing Editor

No matter how good curriculum you develop and quality books you publish but if you have not produced quality men and women to teach it, you have achieved nothing.  Educators maintain that curriculum is the central document for teaching students which has a planned sequence of instructions. The Single National Curriculum (SNC) has subject-related Competencies, Standards, Benchmarks and Students Learning Outcomes (SLOs). Teachers need to master it to plan their lessons, students need to know it to take charge of their learning. Likewise, parents need to know it to help their children to reach their full potentials and gauge their progress. Unfortunately, the common practice in Pakistan is that the curriculum is made to publish textbooks on or discuss it in high-level meetings to show concern on education standards. On one hand, prescribed textbooks do not inculcate competencies and standards in children, it requires teachers to provide facilitation. On the other hand, high-level meetings do not help the implementors to gain the skills, knowledge and attitudes required to make it successful. There is complete negligence of the curriculum rollout in the country.

The irony of the situation in Pakistan is that teacher education isn’t given the due importance that it requires. When we buy a new plane, we train pilots to fly it then why don’t we apply the same approach to the curriculum. A teacher should go through rigorous training programs once in a while and should be trained, particularly when he/she is not oriented with teaching approaches. When I ask teachers; how much is the world-changing, they respond “constantly”. I further ask are they learning “constantly” to catch with the time and they answer “NO”. Teachers do not have the tendency of self-development and the government is not serious in making them learn than how are we expecting improvement. I come across friends who talk about the Single National Curriculum and its implication on education. Most of them are not confident that it will make any significant impact. They do not question its quality rather they think; the implementation steps are not being followed properly.

The number one priority after developing a curriculum is educating people on it. For instance,  NASA’s signature mission of landing their rover “Perseverance” is a very good example of educating the masses on the scientific mission. The whole process of launching to landing was shown to people especially students so that they get inspiration. On the other hand, the news of developing a Single National Curriculum of Pakistan appeared in electronic and print media but it did not go further. The school education stallholders; teacher education institutes, education faculties, and teachers were not given an in-depth briefing on the overall philosophy, the need, and expectations from them. It is pertinent to note that even the 2006’s curriculum is not implemented with its true nature and spirit because of almost similar reasons.   

It appears from their document heading “Phases of Single National Curriculum” that they will get the books printed although they have missed the target which was March 2021 for grade I to V, they will still somehow manage to do it. The question arises, will the textbook teach themselves to the students who so heavily rely on their teachers. How will the teachers assess the students’ learning when they are not familiar with the authentic assessment mechanisms. How will they engage students in hands-on and minds-on activities when they are not gone through it or never heard of it? It has been tried to align the SNC with international standards such as Singapore and Cambridge Curriculum but did anybody think what will the implemented curriculum look like and how it will be different from the intended curriculum. Who will find the gaps and how will be filled?

I don’t think we have missed the train as yet, we can still fix things that we have been neglecting over time. We can educate the nation on the SNC in general and the stakeholders in particular. Educate all teacher education institutions and school systems through seminars, workshops, and debates. Train all teachers on the philosophy, pedagogy, and assessment techniques that are part of the SNC, hire research groups to see how the intended curriculum is implemented. Identify gaps and try to fill the gaps with contextual solutions. If we are serious about improving the quality of school education, we should let the curriculum be the guiding documents of the teachers and allow teachers to use any reference material including books in their classes. If we want a step further the intended curriculum competencies should be shared with students and parents so that they rely on competencies to gauge progress rather than on the test scores. Parents should see how much their children know and can do, rather than how much they score. We need to understand that by changing teaching practices in school we will come on a par with other developed nations, not by making documents and books that sit on our shelves.

By Tayib Jan

The writer is an educationalist, working as the head of a private teacher training institute. He can be reached at tayib.bohor@gmail.com

4 thoughts on “Single National Curriculum (SNC), What Are We Overlooking?”
  1. Most relevant questions raised and suggestions given. It must be mentioned that all previous curriculums were SINGLE but not implemented across the board. This time a word is added to the title to raise a slogan.

  2. Yes, follow up and it’s implementation is really important.
    There is a great of monitoring committee for making sure it’s right implementation.

  3. I think the article highlights main issues in rolling out the SNC. Teacher education is. crucial to any educational development and innovation. Taking stakeholders into confidence about SNC is a matter that goes without saying. Time is running out but not yet come as the author has argued.

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