Punjab govt primary schools to revert to Urdu medium

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Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has announced that Urdu will be the medium of education across primary schools of Punjab in the next academic year, starting from March 2020.In a tweet, the chief minister said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) aimed to provide education in Urdu at the primary level.  The Department of School Education carried out a survey, asking students, parents and teachers of 22 districts about their preferred medium of education. In each category, more than 85% of the people were in favour of Urdu.Educationists believe that children spend their time translating rather than understanding as English is the medium of education. It was observed that the students, therefore, do not end up grasping the information or learning anything new.

According to Punjab Education Minister Dr Murad Raas, studies from around the world show that the use of local language helps children understand the curriculum. He adds it increases the children’s interest and improves comprehension/reading ability.The minister observed that children’s learning capacity was weakened due to the syllabus being taught in English. Raas said the government had gathered local and international data to corroborate this statement.He maintained that community languages, such as Urdu, Punjabi and Seraiki, help students of the province understand the curriculum till the primary level and allows them to continue their education in a better way. “English will be taken as a subject,” he said.

The medium of instruction is the best experience and in this regard, the government has issued a notification. The minister said that education experts and government functionaries had spent four months to change the medium. He added that it has now officially been approved by the Punjab chief minister.Earlier, the curriculum, including Maths, General Science and Social Studies, were in English till Grade-V, but now these subjects will be taught in Urdu.  The curriculum was changed to English in 2008, which resulted in difficulties of comprehension and poor results for students, Raas said.

Apart from this, stakeholders said it was difficult for teachers to perform their duties effectively due to the change in language. The minister, meanwhile, said government officials studied the education system of different countries and changed the medium of instruction under a policy. Initially, the medium has been changed until the primary level.Education experts will later review this further to ensure that children do not face any difficulties with higher education. In the existing system, the trend of dropping out from schools is seen among children. However, with this latest development, it is believed that the difficulties being faced by children will be reduced.

Punjab Teachers’ Union General Secretary Rana Liaquat Ali termed the government’s decision to make Urdu the medium of education till the primary level as a step in the right direction. He believed this would dramatically cut down dropout rates.“Children are given their primary education in their mother language worldwide,” he said. According to psychology and educational experts, a child receives the best primary education in their mother tongue. Ali suggested the Punjab government should also take steps to provide primary education in the native tongue rather than the national language