This analysis looks at the issue at two levels; at SNC itself, and at the textbooks based on SNC, and looks at them in this order.
- SNC is controversial primarily because through it the Federal Government is attempting to transgress into the provincial domain. Under the 18th Amendment, education (especially curriculum making) is fully devolved to provinces. At least one province (Sindh) has asserted its constitutional right and refused to accept SNC.
- The fact is that SNC is heavily (nearly 90%) based on the previous National Curriculum 2006. It follows that same methodology that NC2006 used for the first time in the history of curriculum designing in Pakistan. That method identifies the learning competencies, sets standards of competencies as the students’ learning proceeds in each grade, specifies benchmarks for the competencies, and finally spells out expected learning outcomes of students. In this respect, we see no problem with SNC. Yet there are serious pedagogical issues that make SNC very contentious.
- The question of Medium of Instruction (MoI): SNC sets English as MoI for English, Science and Mathematics, and Urdu (or local language) for Urdu (or local language), Islamiat, General Knowledge (for grades I, II and III) and Social Studies right from the beginning. We have serious reservations on it. We believe in the basic axiom that a language in which students have not acquired a good listening comprehension must not be used as MoI. This is especially true for very early grades. Similarly, a language in which the teacher cannot converse comfortably must also not be used as MoI. Strategies to achieve such competencies can be discussed separately.