Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday castigated the English-medium educational system in the country, saying it was inherited from the British who built such schools to create an “elite class” in the Indian subcontinent to serve them. Khan also told an audience in Lahore how he was made an English public-school boy and not a Pakistani through this educational system.
“When I graduated from Aitchison College Lahore and went to England for further studies… I felt like I was made an English public-school boy and not a Pakistani. I got distanced from my culture and my religion through this English-medium educational system,” he lamented. He said the English-medium educational system was inherited from the British, who built such schools to “create an elite class in (undivided) India which is Indian in colour but thinks like us (the British), has our attitudes and through whom we can govern such a big continent”.
Khan also regretted that after Independence from the British, Pakistan could not develop its own system. Pakistan should have turned its focus on correcting the class-based education system inherited from the British but it couldn’t, he said and talked about three different education systems that came to fore as a result in the country — Urdu-medium, seminaries and English-medium that created different classes.
The English medium system evolved in such a way that there was less emphasis on education, character building and more on creating desi-valyati (local foreigners), he said and held politicians responsible for this class-based educational system.’ The English medium system remained unchanged in Pakistan because politicians wanted their children to enjoy special status in society through it that is why the English medium school system flourished in the country, he said, adding that 80 per cent of Pakistan’s population does not understand English which is more or less a status symbol in our society’. The Pakistan government has recently introduced a single national curriculum in the country that requires teaching of all subjects up to grade-V in national language besides teaching English as a language. Teaching English language to every student is necessary to use it as a tool to seek higher education.