Pakistan Institute of Development Economics

P & R Vol.2 Issue 11
Interview with Murad Ras, Minister for School Education, Punjab
Publication Year : 2021
Author: Murad Ras

What do you think is the fundamental role of education? And is nation building a part?

I believe the most essential role education plays is to build strong characters. If a character of a child is stronger, he will grow up to be a nation builder and an empathetic person.

Is ensuring National Literacy the job of the government? Why and why not?

Since it is the fundamental right of every child, therefore it is essentially the Government’s responsibility to ensure each child goes to school. Nevertheless, community engagement is an extremely important element for its effectiveness.

If the former, how would bureaucratic hurdles be overcome?

The role of Bureaucracy is to regulate and implement policies given by the political governments. Like all others, ask them for a timeline and ensure implementation.

If the latter, how would affordability be ensured?

Government school Education is free of cost and for Pvt schools, it is for citizens who can afford it. But then there are elite schools and schools for all sections of society.

What was your idea behind SNC? Why is it needed?

SNC is PMIK’s vision of a naya Pakistan where all children will be taught one curriculum based on values, culture, creativity and critical thinking skills. It was much needed as we have witnessed anarchy, unrest in young minds who believe there is a visible class difference amongst citizens.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of SNC?

Strengths:

It will be a level playing field for all children regardless of their class differences. It will focus on tarbiat, inculcate values, make them confident and responsible citizens.

Cons:

The only one I can think of, is the mafia behind stopping this.

What are the political incentives driving the push for the current SNC?

Majority of the population has already accepted the SNC and praised it. The percentage you see criticizing it is 2% who haven’t bothered to go through it.There is only one push for us and that is implementing our PM’s vision into reality.

Is state intervention required in Education sector? Mao did it in China which resulted in “the Lost decade”. Can Pakistan go down a similar route?

Without state, I don’t see any other productive interventions to steer the Education sector. Punjab government is giving free Education, admission, textbooks and setting standards.

It is proposed that SNC is an equaliser between social classes? Agree?

Yes it is, and it will create a balance between all sections of the society.

Do you think National language is a good idea in the long run given the international competition?

The child’s basic concepts have to be addressed appropriately in the language they speak widely and at home. The absence of which will be a rote learning system. The medium of instruction is Urdu so that they can comprehend the basic concepts better in their own language. Whereas, English continues as the medium of instruction, from Grade 6 onwards.

How have you plan to manage the capabilities of the teachers at school?

QAED is giving all public and private schools free online extensive trainings on SNC. Which will be ongoing.

Apparently its downgrading the expertise of the private sector rather than public schools, what’s the verity behind it?

Please be clear on one thing. Education is the right of every child. Whether it is given by a public or a private sector school. Public and private schools are onboard on SNC and have had to make a lot of changes to their documents and trainings but all done willing which is a great step in the right direction. A large number of parents who have read it thoroughly, have also wholeheartedly welcomed it. Precisely why public and private school teachers are trained free and it will continue. No one is undermining anyone. It’s a collective team effort of our education sector.

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