Language-teaching and world view in Urdu medium schools in Pakistan

Language-teaching and world view in Urdu medium schools in Pakistan

The ordinary state run school teaches most subjects in Urdu in most parts of Pakistan. And even when it does teach in Sindhi or Pashto, Urdu is taught as an additional language. As such, the world view of the products of state schools is more influenced by Urdu than by any other language in the country taken as a whole.

The state-schools covered in this study are meant for the education of the poorer sections of society and are fully controlled by the state unlike the elitist English-medium schools where state control is minimal. State control manifests itself, apart from other things, in the way state sponsored ideology is disseminated through textbooks in these schools. The purpose of this study is to investigate how the Pakistani state uses the language-teaching texts in Urdu medium schools to disseminate and reinforce the ideologies of nationalism and militarism. A number of other ideologies, like assumed male superiority inherent in the texts, have been touched upon in passing but are not the focus of this study.

In conclusion, the study indicates that the vernacular medium schools are meant to indoctrinate the masses into becoming religious, nationalistic and militaristic. Language texts help these ideological biases sink in the impressionistic minds of students, especially middle school students. The school, therefore, endeavours to create a world view which rejects ethnic nationalism for Pakistani nationalism irrespective of the genuine rights of the ethnic nationalities of the country in the process. It also whips up hatred against India and, therefore, supports the maintenance of a very high expenditure on defence. However, since school texts are not the only influences on children nor does everyone become brainwashed, there are many products of the vernacular schools who are liberal and who wish for peace rather than war.

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