Madrassa federation to decide on reforms on 20th
By Farhan Reza
KARACHI: The Wafaqul Madaris Pakistan, the federation of Deobandi Madrassas, will meet on July 20 in Murree to take a decision on the government’s move for inclusion of formal subjects in the curriculum of the madrassas, and a meeting of officials of the education department with madrassa officials was held in Karachi on Sunday.
“The executive committee of Wafaqul Madaris will be held in Murree to decide their role in the current government efforts to bring changes in madrassas’ curricula,” said Qari Iqbal, the official in charge of external affair of Jamia Banoria, a member of the Wafaqul Madris. The 25-member executive committee would also discuss the model madrassa plan of the federal government and the role of the federation, a representative body of madrassas belonging to Deobandi school of thought. The federation, which according to rough estimates has 12,000 in the country and prepares the curriculum of these madrassas. Maulana Saleemullah heads the board and its nazim is Maulna Hafeez Jalandhari. The board had held a meeting in Multan early this month to discuss the matter, but no conclusion could be reached. A source said the avenue for the meeting had to be changed to Murree because of the heat. A meeting of the Wafaqul Madaris would be held with the federal government in Islamabad after the July 20 meeting.
Sources in the education department said the emphasis on the Deobandi school of thought has been made as these madrassas are considered important in the religious politics of the country. The Taliban also belonged to the same school of thought and studied in madrassas in Sindh, the NWFP and Balochistan.
Meanwhile, a delegation of the education department held a meeting with the Jamia Banoria madrassa, a major part of the Wafaqul Madaris, on Sunday to brief the head of the institution about the government’s plan for introduction of formal subjects in madrassas. The meeting is one of a series the education department will held with representatives of the five madrassa boards, including Tanzeemul Madaris which belong to the Barailvi school of thought, Sulfi Madaris which belong to Ahle Hadith school of thought, the Jamaat-e-Islami’s madrassa board and a Shia madrassa board.
In the one-hour meeting on Sunday, the education department offered the vice chancellor of Jamia Banoria payment of tuition fees of students who study formal subjects in their matriculation and intermediate levels. The proposal was made to pay them Rs 50 to each student and the money would be paid to the madrassa management. The delegation explained the PC-1 plan to add formal subjects in curriculum. The delegation also offered paying scholarship which is being paid to the students of public schools.
The education department’s sources said they estimated that about two million students would receive formal education after implementation of the government’s plan. “These madrassas would come in the net of formal education and these two million students would increase our rate of literacy,” a source said.
The vice chancellor of Jamia Banoria, Dr Abdul Razzak Iskander, informed the delegation that the students were already given formal education up to the eighth grades with all compulsory subjects, including science, English and mathematics. The meeting concluded with the note that education department’s delegation would hold a meeting with the head of the Wafaqul Madaris Pakistan, Maulana Saleemullah, in the coming week.