Pakistan: Islamabad to promote English to bridge class gulf

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Fri Dec 12 18:19:19 UTC 2008

Islamabad to promote English to bridge class gulf
Web posted at: 12/12/2008 1:24:56

Source ::: iNTERNEWS

ISLAMABAD: The school curricula in Pakistan from Class I onwards will
include English as a subject, Urdu, one regional language and
mathematics along with an integrated subject in the revised National
Education Policy 1998-2010, which is currently being reviewed by the
Ministry of Education to make it more comprehensive to achieve desired
results. Regarding the medium of instruction, the officials who have
been assigned the task of reviewing the NEP 1998-2010 said here
yesterday that although according to the guidelines provided to them,
the choice of selecting the medium of instruction up to Class V will
be of provincial and area education departments.

English shall be employed as the medium of instruction for sciences
and mathematics from Class IV onwards. They said that for five years
provinces would have the option to teach mathematics and science in
English or Urdu/official regional language, but after five years the
teaching of these subjects must be in English only. In this regard,
the sources said that the federal ministry of education, in
consultation with the provincial and area education departments,
relevant professional bodies and the wider public, would develop a
comprehensive plan of action for implementing the English language
policy in the shortest possible time. Special attention would be given
to disadvantaged groups and areas, besides which opportunities would
be provided to children from low socio-economic strata for English

They said that the recognition of the importance of English in the
modern world had been manifested in education policies of most
countries and many countries were reviewing their policies for
improving the proficiency of their students in English. "Our country's
policy is also based on the perception of increased use of English
language because it has been felt that the education sector, with the
exception of a few elite schools, has failed to produce the requisite
proficiency and this has led to social exclusion of those who cannot
afford these elite schools," an official said.

He added that there was also an impression that the deficiency in
English had affected Pakistan's potential to attract investment and
benefit from globalisation. "Also, in Pakistan the best jobs, whether
in the public or the private sectors, are beyond the reach of those
who lack proficiency in English," he added. Emphasising the need for
overcoming structural divides, the sources pointed out that the
country's education system had parallel systems of public and private
provision and within the private sector there was an English medium
provision. These systems, they added, were largely divided on the
basis of income status of parents and language of medium of

"Within the private sector are English medium schools, generally of
better quality, but expensive and not well-regulated," an official
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