Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has announced that the medium of instruction across all primary schools of Punjab will be Urdu from the next academic year, commencing from March 2020.
In a tweet from his official account, the chief minister said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government was aiming to impart education in national language at the primary level in the province. As per the findings of a survey conducted by the Department of School Education, 85 percent respondents, comprising students, teachers and parent favoured Urdu as a medium of instruction at the school level.
Educationists believe that children spend a major portion of their valuable time in comprehending and understanding English and hence were unable to grasp the actual meaning of the information, adding they were unable to learn anything new in the classroom due to language issues.
According to Punjab Education Minister Dr Murad Raas, international researches highlight that the use of local language can help children to understand curricula in an effective manner, elevates their interest levels, and helps in improving their comprehension abilities.. He said the government had collected both local and international data to get a better understanding of the situation at hand.
Raas said the local languages, such as Urdu, Punjabi and Seraiki, can also help students in continuing their educational journey. “English will be taken as a subject,” he added. Education experts and government offices had spent almost four months to change the medium of instruction, which was now formally approved by the chief minister himself.
Earlier, the curriculum till Grade-V, including Maths, General Science and Social Studies, were taught in English, but now these subjects will be taught in Urdu. The curriculum was changed to English in 2008, which led to several learning difficulties for students, Raas said.
Apart from this, education stakeholders said it was very difficult for teachers to perform their duties effectively due to language issues. The minister said the government officials were also accessing the various systems of education employed all over the globe and changed the medium of instruction under a new policy keeping in mind the changing trends. Initially, the change was proposed for primary level only. Education experts will later review the change to make sure that children were not facing any learning difficulties with higher education.
Accessing the current education system highlights that school drop-outs were highest among children, however after this change in policy, it was believed that the difficulties faced by children will be resolved and the number of drop-outs will reduce.
Punjab Teachers’ Union General Secretary Rana Liaquat Ali said that the government’s decision to change the medium of instruction was a positive step and will help in reducing the school drop-out rates, dramatically. “Children are given their primary education in their mother language worldwide,” he added. Ali suggested the provincial government to take necessary steps to provide primary education in the native languages rather than the national language.