Islamabad: The government in Pakistan`s
Sindh province has decided to make the Chinese language a
compulsory subject in schools from 2013, sparking a debate in
the educational and political circles over the reasons behind
such a move.
The decision was taken at a high level meeting yesterday
presided over by Chief Minister of Sindh province Qaim Ali
Shah, an official statement said.
According to the announcement, Chinese language will
be a compulsory subject from class six in all educational
institutions, including the Cadet college of Petaro from the
Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq said the
decision was taken keeping in mind the close ties with China
and its growing role as a economic giant in the world.
"Our trade, educational and other relations are
growing with China everyday and now it is necessary for our
younger generation to have command over their language,?
He pointed out this move would reap benefits in the
longer run for Pakistan.
But the move drew a mixed reaction in education
circles although the Vice Chancellor of the Karachi
University Dr Peerzada Qasim supported the decision.
"China is not only a very close friend of Pakistan
but also a major player in the global economy whose role will
further strengthen in the future," he said.
But many termed it as a political decision and said that
educational institutions lacked qualified teachers in the
Chinese language and also the resources to implement the
Ather Mirza, the president of the Sindh Professors
and Lecturers Association, said it was a move by the political
leadership to gain points with China and gain financial
benefits from them.
He said the introduction of the Chinese language
would put an additional burden on parents but also on students
who were already made to learn three languages, English, Urdu
and Sindhi as compulsory subjects.
Another educationist said the government decision
came out of the blue as it was not discussed or debated in
recent meetings of the education department with the Chief
Minister or education minister.
It is reported that President Zardari`s daughter
Aseefa Bhutto has been planning to study Chinese in China
after graduating from college.
Sources said that the provincial government also
decided to award scholarships to educated people of Sindh for
learning Chinese language from educational institutions in