Single National Confusion

Sando, Say What? Pt. 1

Weekly Chokus Bureau Chief: Sando Sapanwalla

KAPTAN and his cronies have a striking knack for baking routine policy actions into political hot potatoes.

Now, I imagine that means people either have a ratcheted up interest in Naya Pakistan or can’t wait to unplug his “selected” government.

On the hot seat this time is the contentious Single National Curriculum (SNC), that in recent weeks launched a thousand tuneless editorials.

But first, credit where it’s due. His government’s proposal to unify Pakistan’s patchwork of education streams is imperative and well meaning.

It’s hard to deny that discrimination is innate in our education system. Between the floor mat schools, and the public schools, and those prepping students for college overseas, it’s always the poor saps that pain most from abbreviated social mobility.

But while Kaptan and company are gung-ho for big ticket change, I fear they can’t tell an actionable plan from a plate of beef korma. This time, to pass the idea as their own, they photostatted a moldy blueprint from 2006 and hilled it with Islam.

Naughty, naughty.

And as our self-professed pundits rightly screech, there’s nary a peep about how they’ll pull the industry up by its bootstraps without robust funding and resourcing. Maybe the First Lady’s djinns will uncover the pharaoh’s gold, who knows?

The pundits for their part express “quality education” in terms perhaps valid in the 18th century, specialist-only, assembly-line world; but terminally irrelevant our side of the 21st. They also parade axioms like “critical thinking” without grounding them in Pakistan’s realities.

The skinny, fellow patriots, is any education system that cannot imprint in children the essential of lifelong learning is absurd. Throughout history, people who’ve accomplished anything worth a breadcrumb distinguished themselves by constant personal growth.

Efficiency and consistency in education were once admirable ideals, but no more. If modern children cannot thrive in a progressively chaotic world, they’re screwed.

They must wield their own spatulas and descend into the muck to mine for information. They must seek both the questions and the answers.

The age of AI is one of problem-solvers armed with multidisciplinary skills, and societies that cannot recognize and develop such personnel doom themselves to mediocrity.

Finally, the hubbub round SNC for amping up religious education in schools is asinine. Why, given our unchanging ways, I can’t conceive a more practical policy!

In Pakistan we beg Allah to roll back the floods, to win us cricket games, and to locate us leadership that compares to the Rashidun Caliphs. Hell, we entreat Him to find us food, and jobs, and spouses, and protect the country.

Well, if praying substitutes for every federal agency in existence, shouldn’t we instill in our children greater piety to beseech Him better? It’s a no-brainer, yo.

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