Challenges For The Successful Implementation Of Single National Curriculum In Balochistan – OpEd


Education is the cornerstone of any society’s prosperity and development. To achieve educational reforms, in 2021 the PTI government introduced a Single National Curriculum (SNC) in Pakistan. This would be applied across the country in all provinces in three phases; in the first phase it will be implemented for grades 1-5 in the academic year 2021-2022, then in the second phase it will be implemented for grades 6-8 in the year 2022-2023 and in the third phase, it will be implemented for grades 9-12 in the year 2023-2024.

According to the Ministry of Federal Education, SNC’s aims and objectives are to make sure that all students have a fair and equal chance to receive  education that is high in quality. While the goal is to foster unity and equity, it is critical to recognize the unique problems that the Balochistan province is confronted with, which pose a threat to the successful implementation of this curriculum. These issues include a lack of qualified teachers, limited access to infrastructure, the highest out-of-school ratio of children, and an ineffective examination system. Thus, as the primary requirement for this strategy, the solution to such issues must be prioritized by the authorities. 

The first and foremost impediment to the implementation of SNC is teaching capabilities and teaching environment in public sector schools. Moreover, the teacher-to-student ratio is the lowest in the province, which also makes it difficult to achieve the desired outcomes of this strategy. 70% of the in-service teachers in the primary school have never undergone any kind of training related to teaching methods. In addition, the province has 10,000 ghost teachers and 58% of the public schools have a single teacher. 1.9 million children do not go to school and 83% of the girls are deprived of basic access to education. Now with such an alarming situation in public schools, the single national curriculum will create more difficulties than creating opportunities for the general populace. Therefore, the resolution of mentioned factors are the prerequisites for the SNC to be implemented successfully and have positive outcomes in the longer run. 

The dearth of trained teachers in public schools is a major hindrance to the adoption of SNC in Balochistan. According to the Pakistan Education Statistics, Balochistan has a significant teacher shortage. This scarcity has a direct impact on educational quality and SNC delivery effectiveness. The same report stated, just 31.8% of teachers in Balochistan have a bachelor’s degree or above, emphasizing the need for professional development and training programs to improve their pedagogical skills. The scarcity of trained instructors poses a substantial difficulty in implementing the SNC, as teachers play a critical role in fostering student learning, adjusting to new teaching approaches, and assessing student learning and successfully implementing curriculum change. The proper implementation of the SNC in Balochistan remains jeopardized unless this deficiency is addressed and suitable training opportunities are provided. 

Moreover, one of the concerning issues is the gender gap in education which is deeply enmeshed with serious infrastructure challenges on all three levels – primary, middle, and high schools. Among the total students attending government schools, girls make up hardly 41%. and the situation gets worse in the rural parts of the province. In addition, due to security and mobility concerns, long-distance schools are less preferred by parents to send their girls. So, this is one of the factors that eventually results in the lower enrollment rates of girls in schools at different levels. Thus, with such a kind of gender disparity in education, equity through SNC cannot be achieved. 

As the SNC is expected to be implemented in its third phase on matric and intermediate level to promote equity in disseminating knowledge and instilling skills in the youth – the leaders of tomorrow. However, the current culture of cheating in the exam of both matric and intermediate is a major impediment in the success of achieving the objectives of SNC. In addition, there is no way to deny the fact that cheating in exams is an unlawful act carried out in Balochistan. It drastically destroys young people’s life and destroys individuals’ inner skills and potential. As a matter of fact, in Pakistan, grades are regarded as the most effective way of assessing capabilities and schooling outcomes. Therefore, students do cheat to get good grades and get confronted with problems and challenges in their lives in the longer run. The government may help schools in Balochistan by providing them with essential resources including qualified teachers, and a supportive environment where students feel free to concentrate on their studies. Thus, in this way achieving the outcomes of SNC will be ensured.

The SNC, has the potential to promote justice and unity in education, but implementing it well in Balochistan would be extremely difficult. The SNC’s goals in the province are seriously threatened by a lack of competent teachers, poor infrastructure, high out-of-school rates, and a cheating culture in examinations. It is crucial that the government give these problems top priority and deals with them in order to get past these obstacles. The authorities in Balochistan have to make a determined effort to increase teacher effectiveness, student-teacher ratios, and chances for professional growth. In addition, the government should introduce and implement qualitative and quantitative techniques to counter the cheating culture and provide resources to schools on an equity basis. Thus, the government can guarantee that the SNC in Balochistan is implemented successfully and provide favorable results for the province’s future educational achievements by addressing these issues head-on.

Manahil Bazai

Manahil Bazai is working as an Intern at Balochistan Think Tank Network (BTTN), Quetta.

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