MEDIUM OF EDUCATION IN PAKISTAN
The issue of language was practically born withthe establishment of . The Urdu-Punjabi-Sindhi dichotomy was inevitable with the arrival of refugees from . The Bengali-Urdu problem was triggered by the speech of the Quaid-i-Azam at , after which the language riots followed. Many people still surmise that Quaid-i-Azam meant the use of Urdu as lingua-franca and not as the official national language.
Mother tongue is recognized as the most effective medium of instruction which is also easy on young minds. However, in case of (which was created on the basis of Islamic ideology), Urdu was favoured as a medium of education because it contained a treasure of religious knowledge. Its script was also akin to Arabic, which is the language of the holy Qur’an. The Bengali language, in this context, posed some problem as its vocabulary and the script were closer to the Sanskrit family rather than Arabic and Persian. This became irrelevant after 1971 when language problem disappeared, though it left serious scars on the psyche of the nation. However, some faint voices had already been raised favouring the roman script; they also died down with the separation of .
This paved the way for Urdu to develop as a commonly spoken and comprehended language of all provinces and territories of . Even where the elementary education was imparted in the local language, Urdu remained the language of inter-regional communications. This kept the movement for adopting Urdu as the medium of instruction at all levels, alive. The monumental translation work undertaken at the , , and the fresh work being done at the of and at were employed to serve as the basis of the new movement evolved around the person and protégés of Baba-I-Urdu Maulvi Abdul Haq. The Urdu speaking population of and Urban centers of Sindh produced a large body of stalwarts of the Urdu movement. They found strong supporters amongst the English-speaking senior Pakistanis who, due to their interest in Urdu literature, advocated the case of Urdu.
In the early 1960s Urdu, as the medium of instruction, got a big boost when many educational institutions – especially the – decided to adopt it as the medium of instructions at higher levels of education. Unfortunately, in the emotional frenzy, the slow progress towards the assumption of Urdu as the official language in the federal and provincial government offices and the superior courts of law, or the inadequacy of the available Urdu translations were not accepted as cogent, in spite of strong pleas of some university teachers to delay the decision.
The decision was lauded as a landmark towards the fulfillment of the objectives of establishing . It was welcomed by most of the students who could now write answers in Urdu. Naturally, there was a flood of graduates who had studied for higher degrees using Urdu or provincial languages, which joined the ranks later. Since there were practically no standard text books or reference materials in these languages, therefore, most of these degree holders could not compete with the graduates from abroad who got most of the senior positions both in the public and the private sector, leaving local graduates in the cold.
This resulted in the emergence of English medium schools which prepared students for examinations offered by foreign universities, for higher education in order to get handsome jobs in the multinational companies at home and abroad. The institutions that sprung up to meet the demand were expensive. But they became popular with the families who wanted to climb the social and economic ladder at all costs. This led to corruption, illegal practices in offices and business. However, nobody cared for these illegal and unethical practices, because the main purpose was to provide good education to one’s progeny. No doubt some of these English medium schools did provide quality education.
But the emergence of the English medium stream of education has created a divide between the offspring of the rich who could afford the expensive schools, and those who were obliged to enroll in the local medium institutions. This has divided the society into two distinct classes having their own worlds – one almost breathing in the 21st Century West, and the other trying to just survive in the conditions of yore. This divide has intensified with time. Apart from the bitterness, this new class system based on medium of education, effectively keeps the less privileged class of society, confined to their current positions. The distance between these groups has widened to an extent that no ordinary scheme will be able to bridge it. Matters have grown more complicated since Madrissas have made themselves visible and their clientele seems to be increasing in many parts of the country. Then there is the mounting pressure of meeting the demand for manpower that could make its place in the new millennium. The Pakistani society, as such, is confronted with strong forces of orthodoxy, conservatism, religion, ethnicity, linguistic loyalties, versus the need and urge to become powerful.
There are no two opinions about the importance of English as an international language. We have to own an international language to teach modern subjects and import latest developments in the existing body of knowledge in various disciplines. Since, English is the language of science and technology, therefore, the government has decided to introduce it as a compulsory subject from class 1 and to adopt it as the medium of instruction of all science subjects.
English as a medium of education in schools
English to be made medium of education in Punjab schools
, Oct 2: On the instructions of Chief Minister Punjab regarding introduction of a uniformed education system, English will be introduced as a medium of education in 12000 public sector schools in the province from next academic year. Under the scheme, all public sector schools in district will be made English medium schools on priority basis from April 01, 2010. Moreover, training will be given to all teachers of schools where English will be the medium of instructions in the teaching of English syllabus.
This was informed by Secretary Schools Education Punjab, Mohammad Aslam Kamboh while addressing the inaugural ceremony of first training course of teachers, here today. Coordinator of the course, Dr. Javed Iqbal also spoke on the occasion. Secretary Schools Education said that a uniformed education system is possible only through a uniformed syllabus, medium of instructions and examination system. He said that mathematics and science subjects will be taught in English in English Medium schools. Coordinator of the course, Dr. Javed Iqbal said that in this context, headmasters and teachers of mathematics and science subjects have been included in the training course. Mohammad Aslam Kamboh said that due to disparity in the medium of instructions, the whole education system has been divided in different classes. He said that the demand of justice is that an opportunity should be provided to the children of poor and middle class families studying at public sector schools to benefit from English medium system of education. Keeping in view this fact, the Chief Minister Punjab has given approval to introduce English as the medium of instructions in public sector schools, he added. Secretary Schools Education , Mohammad Aslam Kamboh said that 12000 schools will be given the status of English medium next year, while all schools in public sector will be made English medium in 2011.
Secretary Schools Education said that compare to private schools, the teachers of public sector schools are better trained and better paid and can easily teach English medium classes. Moreover, he said refresher courses will be conducted for the teachers of all public sector schools. He said that as the majority of newly recruited educators holds master degree, they will be especially assigned the responsibility of English medium classes. F.P Report
Urdu-medium girls less concerned about weight than ‘burger’ babes: study
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Daily Times Monitor
KARACHI: A study of how young Australian and Pakistani women perceive their bodies has yielded the interesting observation that within the Pakistani sample, young women from English-medium institutions expressed greater weight concern than did the Urdu-medium females.
The findings by Nargis Mahmud of the Department of Applied Psychology, F.G. College for Women and Nadia Crittenden of School of Psychology, University of Wollongong, Australia appeared in an article British Journal of Psychology (2007, 98, 187–197).
The comparative study of the body image of Australian and Pakistani young females has thus indicated that with increasing globalization, there is, among the educated, a modern culture that touches all countries and which is beginning to override old traditions and place a more powerful emphasis on physical appearance. In view of increasing globalization, it is difficult to predict the extent of the future influence of Western culture on these Eastern cultures and their life-styles.
The results revealed that, although all the groups identified a similar body shape as the ‘ideal’, the Australian females expressed significantly higher levels of body dissatisfaction on all measures of body image than did the Pakistani females. Body shape and unhealthy eating attitudes, which were once thought to be wholly confined to Western women, have emerged among non-Western populations. The attitudes towards body shape and weight prevailing in the West seem to be non-existent or uncommon in other cultures until such cultures begin to adopt the values of Western cultures. It is suggested that, in traditional non-Western societies, a relatively fat body is regarded as a sign of health and a symbol of prosperity.
The research compares body image attitudes in Muslim Pakistani and non- Muslim Caucasian Australian young women. However, as the Pakistani sample came from very prestigious English-medium schools, it cannot be viewed as representative of the Pakistani female population. Further, the single measure that was used to assess body image in the study seems insufficient, given that the reliable measurement of body image is considered to require multiple measures.
In , government-funded institutions are Urdu-medium, traditional culturally and have English as a separate subject. Private institutions use English as a medium of instruction and mostly follow Western traditions in teaching and rules. These two types also reflect differences in the socio-economic level of students with the former representing the lay population and the latter representing the upper social class.
It was expected that the Pakistani females from the upper social class would be comparable to the Caucasian females in their body image attitudes (because of being more exposed to Western culture), whereas the middle or lay class Pakistani females would express more positive attitudes towards their bodies than these two groups. The sample comprised 149 Australian, 145 Pakistani Urdu-medium and 142 Pakistani
English-medium college females (representing the middle and upper social class, respectively). The participants’ ages ranged from 17 to 22. The average age of the Australian, Pakistani Urdu-medium and English-medium females was 18. Australian females were recruited from the of and Pakistani students were recruited from colleges in and . Pakistani data were taken from both Urdu- and English-medium institutions to include females with varying levels of exposure to Western culture and representing differing social classes.
Overall, the Australian females showed significantly lower body esteem and greater body image dissatisfaction than did either group of Pakistani females on all measures of body image. Contrary to expectations and earlier findings, Pakistani females studying in English-medium colleges expressed significantly lower body image dissatisfaction, fewer body shape concerns and higher body esteem than did the Caucasian females.
Higher body esteem and lower body image dissatisfaction among the Pakistani females as compared with the Australian females could be explained mainly in terms of social, cultural and religious differences between the two groups. Lower body dissatisfaction among women in non-Western countries has been traditionally attributed to their different attitudes towards beauty and to a preference for a larger body shape in those cultures.
However, in the present study, both Australian and Pakistani females indicated that their ideal body shape was significantly smaller than their actual body size. In fact, the ideal shape of both groups was found to be strikingly similar. This indicates the importance of factors other than cultural standards. Slade (1982) suggested body dissatisfaction could be an outcome of critical comments from others. Among the Western females, social pressures from parents and peers and weight-related criticism from these groups have been identified as significant correlates of body image dissatisfaction.
While comparing the two Pakistani groups, the English-medium females expressed significantly greater body shape concerns than did the Urdu-medium females.
The results also indicate that the traditional standards of beauty among young Pakistani females of upper socio-economic groups are being replaced by what is attractive in Western terms. Australian as well as Pakistani females perceived their current figure to be significantly larger than their ideal shape and the shape they thought was opposite-attractive and women-attractive.
This shows that there is not much difference in the idealization of slimness across cultures, and also contradicts the common perception that Asian women’s satisfaction with their bodies arises from a different ideal of body size and shape. Some other research has also demonstrated that preference for thinness is found in all groups of women regardless of their cultural background.