Peshawar: Elementary and secondary education students in Peshawar, Pakistan, will be taught science and mathematics in English instead of Urdu starting from April, 2013. Faridullah Khan, from the Directorate of Curriculum and Teachers Education (DCTE), has stated that this measure will be very useful given that Urdu or Pashto lacks scientific and mathematical terms which can be easily provided by the English language. However, concern for both students’ ability to cope with this impending measure and teachers’ capability to keep up has risen among educators after it was announced.
The decision was taken without consulting the teachers’ associations and with only few months in advance to prepare for. The biggest issue is expected to arise in places like Shangla, Bunner and Upper Dir, where teachers’ qualifications are perceived as insufficient to successfully provide the right amount of knowledge to elementary and secondary students, especially in a language which is not their mother tongue. Peshawar is perceived as more prepared to deal with the challenge, with several qualified teachers at the primary level.
What educators are now claiming is that, although the measure seems positive in itself, the education department should provide proper training for teachers all around the province first, before going ahead with the implementation. Another claim is based on the fear that students might not be able to cope with the language switching after they have been taught in Urdu in previous years. One solution to this problem would be to switch the medium of instruction only for those who are starting nursery this year, instead of affecting more advanced students as well.