Policy Dialogue on Language concludes at Higher Education Commission

Islamabad, October 27, 2016 (PPI-OT):The three-day Policy Dialogue on Language, hosted by Air University Islamabad in collaboration with Higher Education Commission concluded at HEC Secretariat on Thursday. Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman HEC was chief guest in the closing ceremony.

Focus Group Discussions on different topics involved national and international scholars from academia, media, law, banking, aviation, governmental organizations and other institutions to provide concrete steps in formulating recommendations for a national policy on status of English, Urdu and regional languages in Pakistan.

Speaking at the occasion, the Chairman HEC appreciated the Air University, particularly Dr. Wasima Shahzad, for organizing this dialogue at a right time when the Government is gradually shifting to use of Urdu as official language.

“We should make concerted efforts for promotion of Urdu and regional languages. The conversion to Urdu as official language should be made step by step and for that this type of academic discourse is very significant,” said Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, adding HEC is ready to further fund research in language, provided there are concrete proposals.

The Chairman said that different organizations that are already in place for development of languages should come together for preservation of regional languages and development of a comprehensive national language policy. Dr. Wasima Shahzad said that language is our identity and we need to take pride in our language. Appreciating experts for their active participation in various sessions, she said that there was a message of unity in diversity through these discussions, and very valuable inputs were given by all our national and international experts.

She said that a set of actionable recommendations will be shared with stakeholders and the government, which will help in evolving a national language policy and will impact our future education policy. She said that some of key points of discussion included introduction of Urdu for Specific Purposes (USP), strengthening translation studies, improving quality of language teaching, policy of use of language in media particularly for children, establishment of linguistic units at PEMRA and other relevant bodies, special measures for preservation of different regional languages.

Major outcomes of the session on “Education and Medium of Instruction” included a consensus on integration of National Language or mother tongue, medium of Instruction during early years of learning at school, introduction of a relevant regional language as a subject from primary school, appropriate teacher training programs for enhancing competency on several languages and many other detailed recommendations.

During the session on Language and Banking, the stakeholders, linguists and experts of Translation Studies looked at the implications of banking sector in the backdrop of Supreme Court’s verdict of implementing Urdu as official language. It involves a host of challenges as banking sector transactions are at national and International level. It needs developing of corpus, software, dictionaries and adaptation of terminologies.

Experts participating in an academic session on Translation Matters had a through discussion on the subject. The need for strong policy making was also highlighted for a clear vision in translation and translation policies. Mr. Javed Siddiqui and Mr. Najeeb Ahmed participated in the session on Language and Media. The participants emphasized the need to have legislation of producing the content, telecasting and printing it. Association of media institutions with universities should also be done to connect theory with practice.

The session on Language and bureaucracy was moderated by Wg Cdr Shagufta Jabeen. Mr Javed Jabbar and Ms Tasneem Akhtar were of the view that for official documentation, Urdu can be implemented but first personnel need to be trained to use technical writing in Urdu as well as in using software like MS Office and InPage for Urdu. Muqtadra and other such organizations need to be strengthened financially as well as in Human Resource.

For more information, contact:
Aayesha Ikram
Director (Media)
Higher Education Commission, Pakistan (HEC)
Sector H-9, Islamabad
Tel: +92-51-90402404, +92-51-90402412
Email: aikram@hec.gov.pk
Website: www.hec.gov.pk