Dynamics of Secondary Curriculum Organisation in Pakistan: An Historical Perspective from 1947 to 1970

Sumaira Noreen

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Secondary school curricula have existed in different times with a number of titles, such as, general or academic, vocational or technical, diversified or comprehensive or integrated, etc. The history of secondary school curriculum organisation into different subjects in various societies presents an account of changes in the preferential status accorded to some subjects and/or sets of subjects over others. This is often the outcome of struggles between or among different dominant professional, academic, and political groups who are anxious that their policies triumph over other educational policies for curriculum organisation. Such struggles can be witnessed in official government forums, educational policy debates and/or through informal ways of influence such as the opinions of different groups for or against a particular education policy. In short, we need to understand the who, why, where and how of knowledge production for schools. This thesis examines the case of secondary curriculum organisation in Pakistan with reference to its dynamics like power, culture, change, knowledge and policy. For this purpose, this thesis provides an introductory account of some analytic approaches that combine more than one of these manifestations effecting curriculum organisation. The focus of this study rests on explaining whether secondary curriculum organisation in Pakistan had displayed radical or gradual changes in their scope during early eras of independence from British rule. This begins by examining the discourses embedded in British educational policies that had shaped pre-independence secondary curricula. It also examines the emergent discourses among influential educated Muslims for or against these curricula. The chapters that follow, dealing with the first ten years of so-called democratic rule in Pakistan from 1947-1958 and the next ten years of military rule from 1958 to 1970, explain the power dimensions, both local and international, which shaped secondary education; these had their own socio-political and economic and cultural justifications for change that were expressed through their debates about the scope of secondary education for the young citizenry of Pakistan. The final discussion analyses in which way and how far departures from the colonial patterns of secondary curricular forms were being made in the post-independence decades of Pakistan.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Robinson, Francis, Supervisor
  • Ansari, Sarah, Advisor
Thesis sponsors
Award date1 Oct 2014
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014


  • Pakistan, secondary curriculum debate
  • history of education policy

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