Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Quadrilinguil kids from Sindh, Pakistan? Mandatory Chinese in schools!

It seems that the Sindh government has decided to make Chinese mandatory for schools from 2013 (tip from Sarmad Abbasi). Oh wait. Is this an Onion article? Actually no. They seem dead-serious. And this is madness. It would be great to have a choice of Chinese - but it is a bit crazy to make it mandatory. Can someone check to confirm the authenticity of the story?

We already do an insufficient job with Urdu (which is losing its readers), English (as it is the second language), and Sindhi (it is a side-subject for non-Sindhi speakers. I had 5 years of Sindhi - and I never acquired the skill to actually communicate in Sindhi). Now there is a knee-jerk reaction to make Chinese compulsory. True - China is Pakistan's close ally, and is an emerging economic giant, but the language of global communication, and the language of science is english - and will remain so for the foreseeable future. It has defined communication in the global age, and the global communication is going to aid its longevity.

Pakistanis already learn english (draw of the luck to have been colonized by the British rather than the French) - and that gives Pakistani students an advantage in colleges and universities abroad and in accessing most of the scientific journals. Plus, I think english is still the official language of the government. I find it puzzling that instead of strengthening the existing educational standards (at least bring Urdu-medium, English-medium, and Cambridge schools under one system - and level the playing field for middle-class kids), the Sindh government has decided to embark on another odyssey altogether. Not to mention that Chinese won't be that easy as it is from a different group of languages than Urdu and English. And it will come at the expense of some other subject. Which would that be?

Sindh government may score some short-term political points with making Chinese mandatory in schools  - but it will likely be devastating for the future. Though, in all fairness, this looks so crazy, that I think it might never get implemented. Hope springs eternal.

Read the full story from BBC here.


Akbar said...

Total madness. If we really intend to 'reap' any benefit from China's tremendous economical growth, we need better qualified professionals who can work along with the rest of the world and prove themsleves worthy. I have no clue as to why China will be 'impressed' by our chinese speaking skills.

Akbar said...

Just wait, there is compulsary Arabic around the corner too.

Salman Hameed said...

Wasn't Arabic introduced in the Federal Board (though not in Sindh) in the 80s? Did they change that?

Akbar said...

Well I don't know. I studied Arabic in federal board in 90s, but I haven't seen my younger brother study Arabic in Karachi in his school days in later decade.

Akbar said...

我准备学习中国的现在。 :-)

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