In an interview with a middle eastern web portal Urdu News on Wednesday, Punjab Minister for School Education Murad Raas dispelled the impression that the decision to introduce Urdu in public primary schools would widen the gulf between the rich and poor class.
“Yes after implementing our decision on public schools, we will gradually introduce Urdu as the medium of instruction in private schools too. The Private school will have to move towards this as there can’t be two systems of education in the province,” Raas said.
He said the government move is aimed at enabling students to understand the concept rather than just reading like parrots. Earlier Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar had announced his government’s decision to revert to Urdu as the medium of instruction in public schools from the next academic session beginning in March 2019. In his tweet last Saturday, the Chief Minister had said that the teachers and students “wasted most of their time in translating their lessons”.
However, the move was criticized by some experts who claimed that it will further promote the cause of private schools as parents would want their children to study in private English medium schools instead of Urdu government schools.
The Minister said the government decision was backed by research conducted in 22 districts of the province. He said the survey of students, parents and teachers in these districts had revealed that the majority of respondents wanted Urdu.
However, to a question on how the students would be able to shift to English in sixth class after studying major subjects in Urdu at the primary level, the Minister said English would be taught as a separate subject in public primary schools. He said for the last 10 years previous Punjab government failed to train teachers to teach in English so it was imperative to introduce Urdu to enable students to grasp concepts and do critical thinking. He said the government is also planning to introduce Active Learning in public schools by 2021 and a massive teacher training exercise would be launched soon.