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Teaching of Khowar in private schools still a dream

By Mohammad Ashfaq
PESHAWAR, Jan 25: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa elementary and secondary education department has failed to ensure introduction of five regional languages as a compulsory subject in private schools in the province.
khowarPashto, Hindko, Seraiki, Khowar and Kohistani have been taught in government primary schools at nursery level from the start of the ongoing academic year 10 months ago.
In 2012, the Awami National Party-led provincial government had introduced these regional languages as a compulsory subject in all educational institutions up to intermediate level under the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Regional Languages Authority Act, 2011.Each of these languages is introduced in the area, where the people speak it. The aim to introduce regional languages in educational institutions was to promote and preserve them.
According to the education department’s plan, the regional languages are to be introduced in the respective areas gradually.
Primer of regional languages was introduced in nursery classes of the government schools at the start of the current academic year.
“With the promotion of the current nursery classes’ students to next grades, regional languages will go along with them to higher classes up to intermediate level,” said an official of the education department. The official said after eight years, the students of the current nursery classes would reach grade-9 and they had to be appeared in the board examination for secondary school certificate.
“What the students of private schools will do at that time if their schools don’t introduce regional languages as a compulsory subject,” he said.
When contacted, President of Private Educational Institution Management Association (PEIMA) Khawaja Yawar Naseer insisted regional languages were an optional subject and not compulsory one.
When reminded of a government notification issued in this respect, he said no one from the education department had apprised private schools of the introduction of regional languages as a compulsory subject.
Mr Naseer said it was not feasible to introduce regional languages in private schools as students of some schools speaking Pashto and Hindko as mother languages shared the same class and in such situations, how introduction of regional languages was possible.
He said teaching and writing of regional languages were difficult. “The education department has never taken private schools into confidence about regional languages,” he said. The PEIMA president said it was the education department’s responsibility to hold meetings with the administrations of private schools for making a strategy to introduce regional languages.
An official of the education department said it was the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Registration and Functions of Private Educational Institutions Authority’s responsibility to ensure introduction of regional languages at private schools. He, however, said the authority couldn’t proceed against the private educational institutions not complying with the government’s decisions. The official said there’re seven such authorities throughout the province. The official said the chairmen of all educational boards recently suggested to the education department to make amendments to the law for empowering the private educational institutions’ regulatory authorities.–Dawn

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