University Of Tasmania
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Pakistani national identity, cultural diversity, and global perspectives : a policy trajectory study of the national curriculum for secondary school Pakistan studies in Punjab

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posted on 2023-05-27, 10:46 authored by Muhammad, Y
Domestic political circumstances, textbook controversies, and international pressure to revise education policy constituted the context of influence for the curriculum policy's ideological shift in 2006 towards greater democratic pluralism. However, the extent of this ideological shift in the journey from policy to enacted practice-via the mediation of textbook content and teaching-has not been previously explored. This study investigated the trajectory of curriculum policy associated with secondary school Pakistan Studies, focusing specifically on the themes of Pakistani national identity, cultural diversity, and global perspectives-and the instructional strategies deployed in addressing these themes. The policy trajectory model (Bowe, Ball, & Gold, 1992) was used as an analytical framework. This model facilitated the examination of three policy contexts macro policy text production (curriculum documents), meso policy text production (textbooks) and teachers' practice. Qualitative content analysis of the Pakistan Studies curriculum policy documents was conducted to understand the policy objectives and recommendations for the teaching of Pakistani national identity, cultural diversity, and global perspectives. Similarly, qualitative content analysis of the official Pakistan Studies textbooks was undertaken to understand policy text production and treatment of the identified identity themes. Lastly, cross-case analysis of the purposeful sample of 27 teachers was conducted to understand the perceptions, practices, and suggestions of teachers related to the same themes. The findings of this study revealed differences between curriculum policy documents (macro level), textbooks (meso level), and teachers (micro level) as to the discourses they privilege around national identity, cultural diversity, and global perspectives in Pakistan Studies. Furthermore, the analysis revealed the gradual permeation of the theocratic discourse in Pakistan Studies from the macro to micro levels of curriculum policy enactment. At the macro level, the dominant conception of Pakistani national identity was held in an uneasy tension‚ÄövÑvÆwith attempts to face in two directions at once but edging towards the promotion of more pluralistic practices. However, at the meso level, the Pakistan Studies textbooks mainly incorporated the nation-statist/Islamist conception of Pakistani national identity. At the micro level, most of the teachers subscribed to Islamist and nation-statist national identity. With respect to ethnic and religious diversity, the objectives and learning outcomes at the macro level were progressive in intent. However, the textbooks generally paid limited attention to the representation of ethnic and religious diversity. Most of the teachers' reported practices indicated that they confined themselves to the teaching of limited content on representation of ethnic and religious diversity because of time constraints, large classes, and an examination system that overwhelmingly only assesses students' knowledge of the textbook content. At the macro level, the objectives and learning outcomes of the Pakistan Studies curriculum aimed to cultivate affinity with the non-Muslim world as well as the Muslim world. However, the textbooks focused largely upon cultivating students' affinity with the Muslim world and used non-emotive language in the description of non-Muslim organisations. Most of the teachers had a greater inclination towards nationalism than Muslim Ummah or humanity in general. Finally, most of the curriculum policy's recommended instructional strategies were not identified in the reported practices of the teachers. The liberal-democratic discourse of Pakistan Studies promulgated at the macro level seemed to disperse at the micro level. Therefore, it is argued that there would be merit in more tightly linking the various curriculum policy contexts. This could be implemented by ensuring awareness of roles and responsibilities at each level and by introducing the various policy enactors to the complexities of teaching about Pakistani national identity, cultural diversity, and global perspectives through various policy dissemination strategies. For policy makers, redressing the state exam policy appears to be the most urgent and effective measure to adopt in order for any future curriculum reform to flourish because this study's data showed that state exams were the key determinant of the relatively narrow classroom practice.


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