Balochistan, located in the southwestern part of Pakistan, has decided to incorporate regional languages in the primary schools curricula. The decision was announced on Thursday by Information Minister Abdul Rahim Ziaratwal, after Balochistan’s cabinet met in the provincial capital led by Chief Minister Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch.
The cabinet reviewed a series of reports presented by several committees after the decisions made by the cabinet’s last meeting, one of which was related to the inclusion of several languages such as Balochi, Brahvi, Pashto, Persian and Sindhi in primary schools. The provinces are allowed to amend their educational curricula following the 18th Amendment of the Pakistani Constitution. Balochistan took advantage of this benefit to promote the use of regional languages in the province, declared Sardar Raza Muhammad Bareech, the Advisor to Chief Minister Balochistan.
Disagreement over the Role of Languages
Representatives of different parties disagreed over the role regional languages should play at school. The Ruling National Party and the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) aimed at making these languages the medium for instruction, but Nawab Sanaullah Zehri and Mir Sarfaraz Bugti, from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), argued that Urdu should be the medium of instruction. According to Sarfaraz Bugti, no other language can be used as language of instruction because they lack a standing as national language. As a consequence, the cabinet concluded that regional languages should be optional, to be agreed upon by coalition partners in the government.
Incorporation of Leaders
Another suggestion to promote the use of regional languages in the province involves the inclusion of Baloch and Pashtun political leaders in the curricula. Examples of these are veteran Baloch nationalist leader Mir Ghous Bakhsh Bizenjo and Pakhtun nationalist leader Khan Shaheed Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai, among others.