What Makes TCS a Ten-Star?
The other day I was cruising online surfing through the web and munching over the vision statements of private schools in Islamabad. Their confessions to upscale the millennials put me in awe. I was literally on the seventh sky learning of their international collaborations. Let us all have a round of applause for their efforts to capitalize on 21st-century skills-based education. I do not have any dogmatic opinion on modern education, but at the same time, I cannot shake off nausea when parents prefer sending their kids to Homecoming than Meena Bazar. I have a problem with double standards. 21st-century education so-called is not about a westernized model of learning done in English medium. The world is past such colonized impressions. This is the century of indigenous knowledge. Showcasing culture, heritage, self-expression and native languages. 21st-century wants us to find creative ways, effective communication, and vigorous critical thinking to uphold those streams of self-expression. 21st century wants us to capitalize on indigenous industries, to train our own people instead of relying on ‘others’ and self-projecting how great it is that your teacher speaks in a twisted English accent. It is time to get uncomfortable with overly exaggerated claims for modern education. Even the government is head over heels ‘reluctantly’ in the annoying business of English/Urdu medium – the great divide between the private and the government schools. The Youthians (aka well-educated and young people) took the burden to sponsor nation-wide dialogue calling all the stakeholders, including the Deeni Madaris to propose a Single Nation Curriculum (“SNC”). Very briefly, the state wants the generation X meaning our younger brothers and sisters to get rid of their inferiority complex based on the medium of instruction. Of course, SNC is about other stuff like national integration, quality education and equal opportunity. In my opinion, it is a fantastic step which at least recognizes the social dilemmas and considers the Deeni Madaris as critical stakeholders. So far, it has been unsuccessful in reaching the desired consensus, particularly upon what elements are regarded as mandatory for the sake of SNC. When one subject, for example, Music, a madrassa school despises, however, is the hallmark of an elite school. The great divide is rooted deep in embarrassment over cultural propagation. Dare to converse in Punjabi or reverse Islamophobia when a girl is bullied over wearing Hijab in an elite school. One cannot help but wonder over our greediness to move forward. Anything that goes in suit and boat. The success of initiatives like SNC depends on the flexibility and the intention of participants to have such a curriculum. Which is merely impossible and to some experts leave out the ‘healthy competition’. However, an exchange of expertise and institutional capacities between the government and the private schools is a foreseeable action. Whether it would require blended learning to adopt a mix of English-Urdu medium or the inclusion of humanities into STEM. Whatever the strategy is, in our opinion, it must lead to the teaching of Akhlaq and fundamental civic values. Akhlaq is the morals and manners that students must practice in their relationship with others to form a peaceful and civilized society in the 21st century. We claim that The Creative Schools – TCS is one of its kind because for the first time in Pakistan Citizenship Curriculum is being offered to our students. It comprises rules for moral behaviour based on religion and traditions and places unusual stress on the learning of ethics for responsible and caring citizens. At TCS, we see modern education which is critical of identity politics, elite culture and sub-nationalism. For a forward-looking, contemporary outlook of our students, TCS organizes Tarbiyyah sessions driven by the wellness wheel to create a robust learning environment that develops students’ social and relationship skills rooted in value-based education. The positive values provide the capacity for students to appreciate diverse ideologies and celebrate varied cultures. In conclusion, TCS endorses indigenous knowledge patterns which systematically negate the colonial mindset, which should level out the playing field for the great divide.
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