Attitudes towards the implementation of a top-down regional-language policy in Pakistan: “I will not be ready to handle it”


Ajmal Khan & Gary Barkhuizen

Publication Date:

18 December 2018

This study explores the attitudes of significant stakeholders (parents, teachers,
students) towards the implementation of a language-in-education policy in
English-medium schools in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province in Pakistan.
While the state’s official policy supports the regional languages at school level,
the de facto policy privileges English and to some extent Urdu and neglects the
regional languages, Pashto in the case of this study. Interviews and focus group
discussions with stakeholders reveal that there is some support for the
introduction of Pashto in schools, but there is general scepticism about the
feasibility and suitability of this initiative. Many of the stakeholders doubt the
government’s intentions and believe that the new policy is politically motivated.
Implications for regions beyond Pakistan are discussed.