Tue. Nov 12th, 2019

Cabinet decides to put madarssas under control of Education Ministry

Aftab Ahmad

Islamabad:The cabinet on Tuesday decided to put 30,000 madrassas (religious schools) under administrative control of Ministry of Education to modernize the education.

Earlier, Major General Asif Ghafoor, Director General of Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) had announced in a press conference in April this year that government had decided to mainstream all these madrassas to run under the ministry of Education.

Pakistan plans initial spending of Rs2 billion to bring these madrassas into mainstream education system.The government will spend Rs1 billion annually to run them.

Sources told Newztodays.com that during a meeting of cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, it was decided to put all religious schools under control of Education Ministry. At present, 25 million children in Pakistan are out of schools. As many as 2.5 million are studying religious education at the 30,000 madrassas. Out of total, 100 madrassas are said to be found offering education to radicalize children and pushed them towards extremism.

MADRESSAH reform has had a history in this country; whenever a new dispensation takes over, there seems to be great zeal for reforming religious seminaries. In the aftermath of the Sept 11 attacks, the Musharraf regime had taken up issue of reforming maderssah to bring them into mainstream but no success had been achieved in this regard. The present government of PTI has also taken up this issue.

Prime Minister Imran had earlier reiterated the desire to mainstream madressah students and involve them in all sectors of life. Many parents, who face poverty, send their children to religious schools which provide free lodging and meals, as well as give basic literacy skills to young ones along with religious instruction. This is also question on the education system of Pakistan that does not provide opportunities to the poor to send their children to schools and they prefer to religious schools.

In some religious schools students are brainwashes and are taught to hate sects and religions other than their own. Experts say that government would have to introduce uniform system of education in religious schools to end culture of hatred and sectarianism in the country. The government would have to introduce modern education to enable them to get jobs in future after completing their education in the religious schools, official said.

Musharraf government had failed to introduce reforms in religious schools following resistance of administration of religious schools being run by different school of thoughts. Officials claim that administration of seminaries had also agreed with the government to bring them under control of Education Ministry.

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