Evolution of education in Hunza, the Northern Areas of Pakistan: Views of early teachers of Hunza

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


This qualitative oral history study examines the views of twelve early teachers (who taught between 1945-1960) about the evolution of education in the semi-autonomous state of Hunza. The British Indian government founded a primary school in the state around 1912, while 17 Diamond Jubilee Schools were established in 1946 under the guidance and funding provided by Aga Khan III, the spiritual leader of Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims. This study sought to answer the question: How do the early teachers view evolution of education around the establishment of Diamond Jubilee Schools in Hunza? The findings revealed that prior to the establishment of formal school in Hunza, Khalifas traveled far and wide for religious education, which remained in their limited circle. During 1912-1945, teachers and children from influential families continued education in the first primary school. The period witnessed resistance to education due to various reasons and endeavours for mass education continued. The establishment of single-teacher DJ primary schools with grade 5 and below levels of teachers' education laid the foundation for mass education. The students in these shelter less and mobile schools shared the few books that schools had. Confusion about the value of education vis-a-vis subsistence economy (agriculture), anxiety due to various assumptions and poverty among the masses and ruling circles added to the challenges of low provisions for the schools. While subtle resistance continued, the communities contributed to the education by providing the schools with temporary base, constructing a few buildings and accommodating teachers. The teachers taught students to use local materials such as rocks and grass to facilitate the learning process. Education enabled some of the people to avail better opportunities in the teaching and army; resultantly, their views started changing. The study suggests undertaking similar studies in other contexts and search lessons that may be adapted for the future.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library