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Regional languages to be made part of G-B school curriculum

By Shabbir Mir

GILGIT: The legislative assembly of Gilgit-Baltistan passed a resolution on Thursday to ensure regional languages are made part of the syllabus in the region.

The resolution was tabled by Rehana Abidi, a lawmaker of Islami Tehreek Pakistan (ITP) from Baltistan. It was approved by the house that was chaired by Speaker Fida Muhammad Nashad.

G-B Chief Minister Hafeezur Rehman was not present as he had to visit Islamabad on an official tour.

“I take pride in submitting this resolution in the house,” Abidi said as she read out the resolution.

The resolution also generated a debate over whether local languages should be included in the syllabus.

Speaking in favour of her resolution, the lawmaker said G-B had considerable potential to progress. However, she said the only thing that was missing from the equation is the patronage accorded to regional languages.

“We need to include our own languages in the modern syllabus,” he added.

Abidi said Article 28 of the Constitution makes provisions to promote languages and culture.

“Like Sindhi in Sindh, Punjabi in Punjab, Pashto in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochi in Balochistan, we also [want to include] our languages in the curriculum.”

Question of possibility

Taking part in the discussion, Deputy Speaker Jafarullah Khan said the decision would backfire in the long run.

“There are so many languages spoken in G-B,” Jafarullah said. “It would be impossible to include all of them.”

According to the deputy speaker, if a particular language is included in curriculum it could create a network of problems for those who do not speak it.

Muhammad Shafi, a member of ITP, suggested the inclusion of Shina, Brushaki and Balti in the syllabus. According to Shafi, these are the main languages which are spoken and understood by all and sundry.

G-B Minister for Education Ibrahim Sanai said the decision to include local languages was taken in the recently concluded inter-province seminar held in Gilgit.

“It has already been decided that local languages will be made part of the syllabus,” Sanai said, as he referred to the conference that was held for the first time in G-B.

The resolution was passed through majority votes. However, the speaker said the problems involving alphabets and grammar will need to be addressed first with support from linguists in G-B.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2016.

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