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Pakistan Province Adds Pashto To Curriculum

A Pashto students organization school-admission campaign in Pakistan in March.
A Pashto students organization school-admission campaign in Pakistan in March.
The regional government of Pakistan's Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province has formally approved the teaching of the Pashto language as a compulsory subject in schools, RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal reports.

The decision came at a March 21 meeting of the provincial cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Amir Haidar Hoti.

It makes learning Pashto compulsory until the sixth grade.

The cabinet also decided that the study of other languages -- such as Hindko, Seraiki, Kohar, and Kohistani -- will be compulsory in areas where the majority of the local population speaks it as its mother tongue.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain told RFE/RL that the new requirements will be implemented within six months.

"We have made all arrangements for this, and the relevant bill will be submitted to the cabinet," Iftikhar Hussain said. "Wherever those languages are spoken, the basic education will be given in the mother tongue."

The minister said the schedule for implementing the cabinet decision has already been coordinated with the provincial government.

"The curriculum will be prepared. It is ready for Pashto, but it will take some time for the other languages like Hindko, Seriki, Kohistani, Kohar," Iftikhar Hussain said. "We have the complete schedule ready, when and how it will be implemented, gradually, this will be implemented from kindergarten up to secondary level."

Until now, teaching in both state and private schools throughout Pakistan has been in Urdu and English.