Punjab has not disallowed art, computer studies etc.
Claim: Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board has disallowed schools from teaching art, music, computer sciences, handwriting, and drama.
Fact: PCTB has included computer sciences and art in their scheme of studies. While music, handwriting, and drama are not included in the scheme, it allows for a range of other co-curricular activities like sports and critical thinking.
The Single National Curriculum has been developed by the federal government and is to be put into effect across all three divisions of education in Pakistan i.e. private schools, public schools, and Madrassahs. The Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board (PCTB) states that the Single National Curriculum (SNC) merely lays out minimum guidelines for school syllabi, and that schools are free to design curriculums as long as the teaching goals of the SNC are met. In contradiction, however, any and all textbooks to be taught in schools must first go through an approval process by the PCTB.
Recently, an article by Dr Ayesha Razzaque was published in The News stating that the PCTB has disallowed the teaching of art, music, computer sciences, handwriting, and drama. The article cites publishers of school textbooks as the source of this information. The move, as per the article, was made to ensure that schools stick to the SNC. This news then made the rounds on social media.
Soch Fact Check could not find any official notifications corroborating the claim made in the article. Furthermore, the PCTB released a press release the next day stating that schools are “not only allowed, but rather encouraged to” teach subjects like art, physical education, music, foreign languages, and communication technology.
As per the scheme of studies on the PCTB’s website, several of the subjects that were allegedly disallowed are, in fact, included in the curriculum. Art and Drawing, as well as Sports and Games are included in the curriculum from Grade Pre 1 through to Grade 5.
From Grade 6 to 8, students are to choose from certain available electives, which includes Art and Drawing. They also have a choice of co-curricular activities that include Physical Education, boy scouts and girl scouts, and Sports and Games.
In Grade 9 and 10, students are given the option of picking one of three groups: Science Group, Humanities Social Sciences and General Group, and Medical Related Technologies/Engineering, Related Technologies/Technical and Vocational Education Group. Computer Sciences and ICT is included as an optional core subject for Science Group. The Humanities Group can choose two electives from a range of subjects which include art and computer sciences subjects such as Fashion Design, Interior Design and Decoration, Telecommunication, and Computer Designing. The third group can choose one of three areas of studies: Medical Related Technologies, Engineering Related Technologies, and Technical and Vocational Education. All three options include a range of technical subjects such as Pharmaceutical Technology, Artificial Intelligence Technology, and Technical and Vocational Education in Automotive Technology.
In Grade 11 and 12, students are given the option of choosing to enroll in one of ten groups. Three of these groups include Computer Sciences and ICT as a necessary core subject. Four groups include Computer Sciences and ICT as an option in two subjects that students can choose from. Within the Science Group, students are to choose from any one of five combinations of three subjects. Three of these combinations include Computer Sciences and ICT.
Similar to the previous two grades, students in the third group can choose subjects from one of three areas i.e. Medical and Allied Technologies, Engineering Related Technologies, and Technical and Vocational Education. All three include tech-based subjects like Imaging Technology, Civil Construction Technology, and Technical and Vocational Education in Telecommunication and Laser Technology.
The Humanities, Social Sciences and General Group also has a range of tech related subjects to choose from such as Computer Programming and Language. The Applied Arts Group can choose from a range of art subjects such as fashion design and photography.
Music and drama do not seem to be included in the curriculum. Subjects like Speech, Spoken English, and Critical Thinking have, however, been included as co-curricular activities. Furthermore the curriculum for English Language for 2019, uploaded on the PCTB’s website, includes writing skills like “write neatly and legibly with reasonable speed” and “write coherently in more than one paragraph” in the subject’s specific aims and objectives.
Summary: An article that gained popularity on social media stated that the PCTB had disallowed the teaching of art, music, computer sciences, handwriting and drama. Soch Fact Check found this to be misleading as the curriculum on the PCTB’s website includes art, computer sciences, and handwriting skills. Music and drama have not been included in this curriculum.