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Toolika Wadhwa

By S. Siddiqui
Year 2016, pp. 320, Rs. 1095.00

VOLUME XL NUMBER 11 November 2016

The book traces the history of education in Pakistan with par-ticular reference to policy documents from the time of the creation of the country in 1947, to the most recent educational policy in 2009. Although the focus is on educational policies, these have been understood within the specific historical and political context of the country. Using his experience and expertise in the area of educational administration in Pakistan, the author has discussed extensively educational policies and critically analysed them with his vision of universal access to education across Pakistan. In tracing the recommendations of various committees and commissions, Siddiqui has presented a historical backdrop of education in Pakistan since the time of Independence to contemporary times. He has also discussed, albeit briefly, the process of development of policies. The author has aptly situated the development of frameworks, position papers, reports of committees and policies, within the backdrop of the political climate of Independence, the 1971 loss of East Pakistan, and ideologies of political parties in power. The significant role of donor agencies and the influence of relations with other countries across the world have also been highlighted. Political upheaval has been a major reason for instability in the country resulting in slow and inconsistent development in education in the country. Post Jinnah, political turmoil also influenced the student population in the country. The decision on what should be the state language, Urdu or Bangla, or both was a significant one. Jinnah’s preference for Urdu and the support this decision received from leaders of East Pakistan became the initiating point of student unrest in the country. Conflict of student bodies with the state, particularly in the nineteen seventies, became a major reason for the setback in education in the country. A key issue addressed in the book is that of the role of ideology in influencing educational policies. In the context of Pakistan, Siddiqui has explored the influence of Islamic ideology on education in the country. He points out that policies are drafted in a manner that ensures that the vision of the official religion of the country is not disturbed. In fact, policies since the time of the creation of Pakistan have been advocating the promotion of Islamic values through education. These include values of brotherhood, social justice and democracy. Quite pertinently, Siddiqui points towards the need felt by policies to view these values as Islamic and not as secular. Several significant ...

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