The Urdu Science Board (USB) (old name Central Board for the Development of Urdu) was established in 1962 under the central government with the major aim of promoting national values and developing Urdu to make it an effective medium of instructions at the higher stage of education. Later, in 1982, the Board was renamed as “Urdu Science Board” and was assigned the task of removing existing deficiencies in Urdu. The Board has published more than 750 books related to a vast range of natural sciences, social sciences and technologies.
Besides, the Board has also prepared a number of standard English-Urdu dictionaries of language and terminology. Its major tasks included development as well as publishing of learning materials for primary, secondary and higher secondary schools, literacy and a adult literacy institutions, production of instructional materials in Urdu for science, mathematics and technical subjects being taught in the teacher-training institutions of the country and produce encyclopedias of science and technologies.
Assigning the USB these major tasks on national level is, of course, a good initiative as far as promotion of Urdu language as well as conversion of science subjects in Urdu is concerned. However, this mechanism still carries some flaws. The authorities need to improve these factors as it would have better impacts on promoting these subjects. First of all the government should centralize the science and technology promotional efforts as USB is currently working under the Ministry of Education while a separate Ministry of Science and Technology exists. Since the nature and scope of the USB, to much extent, is of a different nature, only experts on these subjects can harbour effective initiatives as well as policies regarding science subjects.
The establishment of USB in 1962 did show the government knew the importance of science education in mother tongue but now about 49 years have gone and we are still lacking behind in science material in Urdu language. Renowned scientist A.P.J. Abdul Kalam favoures imparting science education to children in vernacular languages to encourage creativity and enable easy grasp of the subject. According to him, creativity is the key to success in future and primary education is where teachers can bring creativity in children at that level and leads to beauty in character which in turn brings peace in world, harmony in home and order in nation.
The comparative study indicates to the impression that Pakistan still lacks in terms of science development. This, no doubt, is mainly due to the shortage of funds as well as facilities but slow understanding amongst science students in English language has equal contribution in this regard. Language is a medium to get knowledge and mother tongue is the best option in this regard. Promoting science teaching in mother tongues means helping to preserve linguistic and cultural diversity and expanding access to scientific knowledge, raising awareness at all levels of the society about the importance of science and technology. A sane approach is desperately required on the part of the government to improve the language deficiencies.