Uniform school education in KP still a far cry

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Textbooks of around 15 publishers are being taught in private schools of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa contrary to the provincial government’s repeated claims of bringing uniformity in the government and private schools’ education system, it is learnt. Even the Elementary and Secondary Education (E&SE) Department was caught unaware when its officials were asked whether the textbooks of different publishers being taught in the private schools were in accordance with the existing curricula or not. The officials said that the textbooks being taught in private schools were yet to be approved by the Directorate of Curricula and Teachers Education (DCTE). The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led provincial government has changed the medium of instruction from Urdu to English in the government schools from grade-1 in the ongoing academic year. The language of the textbooks in private and government schools is uniform, but the teaching material in the textbooks is not uniform. “There is no uniformity in the textbooks, teaching methodologies and classrooms’ environment, etc,” MPA Ms Miraj Humayun, who is former provincial education minister, told Dawn. The education in government and private schools is not uniform rather PTI has been deceiving masses by claiming on every available forum that it has introduced a uniform education system in the province, she said, adding that the PTI leadership didn’t know what to do. The officials said that the textbooks taught in the government schools were published by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Textbooks Board (KPTB), Peshawar.

According to several owners of private schools, they had the choice to select textbooks from one of the private publishers for their schools. Sometimes, the private schools select different books of different publishers, they said. The publishers whose books are being taught in private schools include Afaq Publishers, Nayab Publishers, Jamal Publishers, Javed Publishers, Star Publishers, Gaba Publishers, Oxford Publishers, Millat Publishers, Khalid Publishers, Taj Publishers, Royal Publishers, Oxon Publishers, Gohar Publishers, etc, sources in the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Peshawar, told Dawn. Asked whether the books taught in private schools are in accordance with the curricula, additional secretary E&SE Qaiser Alam Khan said that the books should be according to the curricula. “Books can be of different publishers, but the text inside cannot be different,” he said. Asked if the private publishers take approval from the education department to introduce their textbooks for teaching in private schools, the additional secretary said that earlier it was responsibility of the federal education department’s curriculum wing to approve books of private publishers before their sale in the market. He said that following devolution of the education ministry under the 18th amendment it was now the responsibility of DCTE to approve books of private publishers. “The DCTE will take action against the publishers if their textbooks are found deviating from the officially approved curricula,” he said. DCTE director Bashir Hussain Shah, when contacted, said that the private publishers had so far not taken approval from his department. “The formulation of rules and regulations is underway to make it binding on the private schools to introduce the books published by the textbook board,” he said. He said that the establishment of examination commission was also in process which would conduct examinations of grade-5 and grade-8 of the government and private schools. The examinations conducted by the commission would be from the textbooks developed by the KPTB, Peshawar, he said, adding this way the private schools would be encouraged to introduce the board’s textbooks. “The education will be uniform only when the textbooks, teaching methodologies and facilities in the private and government schools would be same,” said an educationist.

Source: Dawn.