Beaconhouse School System, one of Pakistan’s premiere school networks, has become embroiled in controversy after a circular by the Sahiwal Boys Campus found its way on social media.
The circular in question informs parents of the school’s new “disciplinary policy”
The highlighter portion has attracted the ire of social media activists for prohibiting “foul language” where the school specifies the use of Punjabi as a foul language.
Sahiwal is a city located in Central Punjab and Punjabi is the most widely spoken native language of the region.
The English medium private school’s categorization of the language as “foul” not only perpetuates colonial stereotypes but also reeks of racism.
Interestingly, Punjabi is the native language of more than a 100 million people around the world and is the 10th most widely spoken language with a rich history dating back to the 7th century A.D.
People on social media have warned the school to take back the circular or “strong protests” will follow.
Many critics have drawn comparison with other English medium private schools in Pakistan with one person saying, “So LGS is making sure that its students get training in regional languages, They offer courses in punjabi[sic] language and literature and then there is Beaconhouse. Idiots.”
This happens when education becomes a fashion statement in society. #ActagainstBeaconhouse
— M. Hanzala Tayyab (@HanzalaOfficial) October 13, 2016
#ActagainstBeaconhouse has been a top trend on Twitter, with people calling for the school to issue an apology for the ignorant circular.
How can Punjabi be categorised as foul language? This school needs some serious education #ActagainstBeaconhouse
— vendetta (@yaldram) October 13, 2016
it's nothing new all the so elite English meduim schools forbid children from speaking any native language. #ActagainstBeaconhouse
— Tania Saleem (@TaniaPalijo) October 13, 2016
Mother tongue is the road map of a culture, pedigree of a Nation, blood of soul, wine upon lips #ActagainstBeaconhouse
— Pakistan (@1947Aug14) October 13, 2016
#ActagainstBeaconhouse this is how our so called education system is teaching the children how to disown their identity,…
— elegantaquaria (@SarYousuf) October 13, 2016
An interesting uniformity of opinion with regards to owning one’s cultural heritage has been seen through all the criticism against the school. While it is heartening to see young people embracing the history and culture of their land, one does wonder if it will manifest in other areas of life, too.
This person couldn’t help but point out the irony of the strict enforcement of language rules and the grammatical errors in the circular:
— Najam Qureshi (@NajamQ) October 13, 2016