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  • Writer's pictureSumbella

A Curriculum for Skills and Economic Growth in Chitral

[#education + #Chitral] The week before, I visited beautiful, expansive, mountainous Chitral, way north of Pakistan. For the education enthusiasts, perhaps you’re like me, Margi Kulsoom Orchard and #MrsSue, who love to pop by and get a glimpse of local schools when travelling. And perhaps you are like us too, in that you talk to everyone you can, especially the locals.

The schools we visited were filled with happy children. It was beautiful. And they are learning all the standard things- math, English, science. Most children and youth we heard from want to be an engineer or a doctor.

Contrary to my own misconception about this part of Pakistan, this area has one of the highest literacy rates in the whole country. This is partly due to organisations like the Aga Khan Foundation and others that have been set up and function well in this area.

But back to the Engineer / Doctor trend:

Even though we learned that there are opportunities to use those kind of degrees here, I know these professions are saturated globally, and I think it's similar in Chitral and Pakistan too.

There is a lot of unemployment in the area, and what I saw is a place where things like tourism (and the infrastructure for it) needs nurturing and developing.

For that, children (and adults) could do with mastery of a few non-standard subjects right from the get go at school… I am not sure it’s extra subjects they need, but skills.

Resting gives you space to dream and ponder. And as I went over it in my head the week before, I imagined:

If I had free reign over what I taught them, what would it be?

These are some of the skill focused subjects I’d want them to learn:

+ English

(specifically for tourism and business)

+ Chinese

(an absolute must for this area, given the proximity and economic ties) 

+ Social Media

(including safe use of social media, business social media, store fronts, etc.) 

+ Personal branding

(knowing how to effectively communicate who they are and what they’re all about - online)

+ Digital marketing

(landing pages, creating flyers, email marketing, setting up an online marketplace)

+ Craft skills / artisanal skills

(ones where they produce items using natural resources that can be marketed effectively and sold) - I’m thinking deep mastery of sewing, embroidery, woodwork, horse goods, etc

+ Money

(all things accounts, income, revenue, budgeting, cash, digital currency etc.)

I'm sure there are others. But I think a lot of these things are ones I'd want to learn ASAP if I was a young person facing this job market, no matter where I was from.

#overtoyou: If you had total creative direction over a curriculum, what subjects would you include for your community?

P.S. Some photos! Of the wonderful Chitral and its happy schools. I hope you get as much joy from them as it was to visit. (Don't you love the one of all the shoes that look exactly the same outside the classroom? And the impossibly on-trend barbie pink computer room?). Sweet! :)

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