A girl covers her face with her headscarf while attending a class. — Reuters Photo
A girl covers her face with her headscarf while attending a class. — Reuters Photo

PESHAWAR: After mushroom growth of seminaries, organised religious groups and some alleged extremist outfits are now making significant inroads into the education sector by opening and operating English medium schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata to compete with the conventional private educational institutions.

According to some educationists, religious groups changed their strategy and focused attention on English medium schools, vocational institutions and universities when seminaries came into limelight and were blamed for producing extremists.

The Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) and Tanzeemul Madaris (Barelvi) have set up separate bodies for overseeing their affiliated English medium educational institutions.

Maulana Abdul Malik, head of JI-affiliated Rabitatul Madaris in Mansoora, Lahore, said that a body with the name of Dar-i-Arqam had been established to look after English medium schools.

He said that around 150 private schools were functioning in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa under the supervision of Dar-i-Arqam. Besides it, two more JI-affiliated chains — Hira and Iqra — have also their networks of schools and colleges.

The Barelvi school of thought is also running English medium schools and colleges across the country. According to Maulana Fazl Jamil, the sect is running network of private schools under the supervision of four different bodies — AIMS, Mustafvi Model Schools, Muslim Hands and Minhajul Quran.

Jamaat ud Dawa is also running about 30 English medium schools in the province, but it has a bigger network in Punjab.

JI has taken lead over other religious organisations and sects in education sector. The party has one medical college and one dental college in Peshawar with full-fledged teaching facilities.

In addition, well-off persons and families affiliated with JI and other religious groups have set up universities, vocational and technical colleges.

The number of English medium schools in the province is around 5,500 compared with the number of registered seminaries that is 7,400.

However, information reveals that the number of English medium schools is increasing as religious groups have started intervention in the modern education system.

Some educationists say that religious sects’ intervention in private sector education of the country will be very dangerous for a polarised society, which has already been divided on sectarian grounds.

The acting vice-chancellor of University of Peshawar, Dr Qibla Ayaz, expressing reservations over mushroom growth of seminaries and educational institutions, run by different sects, said that it was responsibility of the state to provide education to people.

“When state fails then other groups start filling the vacuum which is very dangerous,” he observed.

He strongly opposed intervention of religious groups in education system, saying those groups were basically indoctrinating children instead of educating them.

“Opening of education institutions by religious groups or by their affiliates would further divide the society instead of cohesion,” said Dr Qibla Ayaz, who also teaches Seerat Studies at the university.

A senior official, while commenting on the issue, said that English medium schools run by religious organisations were producing graduates, who were basically mullahs, but they wore three-piece suits.

Inclination towards religious education has not decreased in the region. Few years ago there were only few hundreds registered seminaries in the province. The provincial industries department had registered 300 seminaries by April 2005 and the figure rose to 2,450 in May 2006. But now the number has reached 7,400.

Maulana Fazl Jamil, provincial chief of Tanzeemul Madaris Board, said that abject poverty, a chance of free education and growing anti-Americanism were major factors owing to which number of seminaries in the region had considerably increased.

Wafaqul Madaris al Arabia Pakistan, which regulates seminaries of Deobandi school of thought in the country, has the largest network of seminaries in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata.

Wafaqul Madarris (Deobandi) Board, according to a list, has enlisted 3,395 seminaries both for males and females in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata having 556,199 students.

Tanzeemul Madaris (Barelvi) Board is managing some 600 seminaries in the province with roughly 50,000 students while JI-affiliated Rabitatul Madaris Board has 500 seminaries with 50,000 students.

Shia and Ahle Hadit have also separate boards for managing affairs of their affiliated religious institutions. Both sects have small number of seminaries. Jamaat ud Dawa, a charity body-cum-jihadi outfit, has around 50 seminaries in the province.

Seminaries attached with all sects are being run on donations, Zakat and Ushr, but fee is collected from students in their English medium schools. The provincial government provides Rs20 million grant annually through Auqaf and religious affairs department to registered seminaries.

But the department has no data of the registered and unregistered seminaries and number of students and teachers there. Minister for Religious Affairs Namroz Khan said that his department had no record of the seminaries.

Home Secretary Mohammad Azam Khan said that the issue came under discussion in cabinet meeting and it was proposed to maintain proper record of seminaries.

Mutahidda Majlis-i-Amal government through department of schools and literacy had conducted survey of seminaries in 2005 that put the number of seminaries in the province at 4,680 having 183,140 students including females.

Seminaries functioning in Fata are unregistered because government is yet to extend Societies Act to the area. A cell has been set up in the directorate of education, Fata to enlist seminaries in the area. Officials said that 318 seminaries were enlisted in Fata and government had allocated Rs9.6 million in 2011-12 to provide assistance to those seminaries.

About 48,318 students have been enrolled in these enlisted seminaries. Under the project some of the enlisted seminaries have been provided teaching staff, computers and other basic facilities. A hostel for girl students studying in a seminary in South Waziristan Agency has also been constructed.

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Comments are closed.

Comments (38)

Rehan Rizvi
August 27, 2012 11:53 am
August 28, 2012 6:46 am
A very positive step by the religious groups. I highly appreciate them
Rehan Rizvi
August 27, 2012 11:51 am
August 27, 2012 8:27 am
It depends on what type of education these Muslim run schools are imparting to the students.If it is a broad based education encompassing various subjects like arts ,science and a proper comprehensive understanding of Islam, they will be doing the country a favor.Otherwise, you may have a problem in the future.
Abdul Waheed
August 27, 2012 7:31 am
Alarming situation. These institutions will continue to produce narrow minded religios extremists and create problems for our society.
August 27, 2012 2:33 pm
What kind of Islam they are teaching? Moderate Islam or Jehadi outfit?
August 28, 2012 5:58 am
A girl covers her face with her headscarf while attending a class. — Reuters Photo Ofcourse girl covers her face...... she does not want acid thrown on her face.
August 28, 2012 11:03 am
No. Just afraid of mindless fanatics. We have too many of them already!
Jaideep Gupta
August 27, 2012 11:26 am
We should overcome narrow mindedness and should inculcate broadness which is beneficial to the society.School and semineries run by fundamentalist organisations cannot paint a broader picture into the mind of students rather they annihilate a system which is very detrimental to our future generation.
August 28, 2012 11:05 am
Scary. Here goes my last bastion, my last hope.
August 27, 2012 10:11 am
There is big difference between Christian oriented English medium school and Islami oriented English Medium School. Look at the history how Christian English medium school has contributed to the society in a positive way. Also try to analysed the contribution Madarasa in to modern knowledge !
Abdul Hafeez
August 27, 2012 11:36 am
Lubna! This is not only an indication but also a great threat towards the completion of the American's mission, to destroy the Pakistan. Despite, knowing what they have intended to do with us, we are supporting their vision, to enforce the so called "Islamic way of life" which is made by them. Abdul Hafeez
August 27, 2012 9:33 am
MashaAllah. May Allah give religious people success in providing Islamic and Modern education simultaneously.
August 27, 2012 8:27 am
we need to understand that the sectarian basis of education can not be compared with any religious groups, like deoabandi/barelvi can not be compared with christian schools. Secondly given the fact that the so called religoius groups are actually known to have tererrists links with armed groups. which is more dangerous. If we ever come to know that christian schools are maintaining armed groups and beheading people we should agree with your point.
August 29, 2012 2:15 am
Way to go pakistan.
August 27, 2012 8:36 am
Enjoy.........................they guys will invade your Homes soon..........and decide your day to day life.........right from manner of brushing your teeth to positions of sleep.
August 27, 2012 8:28 am
Don't know what is the problem of these religious people????
M R Khawaja
August 27, 2012 11:03 am
They used to teach and still teaching the result of which you see in killing of innocent on the streets on the name of Shia Sunni and so forth you do not expect these murderers to teach children to become decent human being. All these so called Mudrasa should be closed and their oprator send to Jail for good unless you want to see more fresh blood like in Quetta and northern areas and wazirstan karachi but pakistani seem to like smell of blood somalia used to like that and see where are they now pakistan will be somalia soon Good luck.
August 29, 2012 12:03 am
truth is, Dawn and many other news media is pro-America, and Anti-Islam and that is the reason why they have been posting blogs/features like these to create confusions in the minds of common people... Unlike other religions which are based on few sets of beliefs and way of ibadat.....Islam is a complete code of life; and we as Muslims are supposed to follow the Islamic ways in whatever we do...not just prayers....I mean, seriously, why are you guys so worried about these schools???why dont you look around you and find out what your kids are doing...why you have a problem if a Muslim woman is covering her body and face from your satanic eyes....??? I would suggest: Study Islam and believe me you will find the truth and the answers to your confusions and upcoming worries!!!
August 27, 2012 10:57 am
Its a positive change and must be appreciated !! Before people were shouting that these madrasa students dont get worldy knowledge. Now its a perfect combination. Remember its an Islamic republic not a secular state and students and parents can choose if they dont want to study in these schools. No one is forcing to study here
M R Khawaja
August 27, 2012 10:53 am
No Wonder the country going nowhere i mean literally if these people are allowed to preach what they are practicing now then whole nation will be nation of killers with no one left to kill. Pakistani as a nation is dead any way so not killing these people is no surprise before they kill you That is their teaching nothing to do with religion.
August 27, 2012 11:12 am
Its a positive change and must be appreciated !! Before people were shouting that these madrasa students dont get worldy knowledge. Now its a perfect combination of both religious and modern knowledge. Remember its an Islamic republic not a secular state and students and parents can choose if they dont want to study in these schools. No one is forcing to study here !!
Truth Hurts
August 27, 2012 11:15 am
It is not your society, they are the part of the same society....
August 28, 2012 10:44 am
If the religious groups receive modern education then they will pose a problem for secularisation. It will make it harder to present madrassas as backward. Imagine religious fanatics being able to read and write English. They will be able to get jobs that require English and start to infiltrate middle class areas of society.
August 28, 2012 11:50 pm
Study Islam and you will find the answer my friend.
August 27, 2012 10:37 am
agreed. actually its not the religious school of though that is under question here, its is the illiterate and stone age people who are the real problem. i have heard of good islamic schools also. Madrissa culture was intentionally fueled during 80s to generate raw material for Afghan war, so unfortunate???
Truth Hurts
August 27, 2012 11:19 am
All the leading political student outfits (non-religious) who are and were studying in NON Religious Colleges and Universities are and were involved in ruthless killings more than any religious ones...... so what is the big deal....
Agha Ata
August 28, 2012 12:27 pm
Maybe, it is time to declare religious parties enemies of Pakistan!
ahmad butt
August 27, 2012 10:25 am
Pakistan will somehow become like Lebanon. Before civil war, the christian population there managed the best school and universities there, and muslims used to send their children to discipline their kids. When the muslim population grew, it created conflict and during their war, many christians and even muslims left as refugees. Lebanon being the cultural capital and jewel of the middle east is not what it used to be. It will be sad if the missionary schools in pakistan get affected, as they have contributed brilliant students
August 27, 2012 10:42 am
Thats Great if you mean they are providing education in these scholls, because eduaction will bring positive change. why is your worry are they teaching english in arbic or scince and computer from fiqa?
Agha Asad Raza
August 27, 2012 8:11 am
this is extremely dangerous! Get them sorted out NOW!
August 27, 2012 5:56 am
Whats bad in this?
August 27, 2012 7:58 am
Good initiative by the religious groups.
Ashfaq A.Khan
August 28, 2012 12:59 pm
In other words now English speaking terrorists would be produced.What makes it different if a terrorist is speaking English?
August 27, 2012 7:29 am
What is the problem now why screaming just because English medium schools are run by religiosity parties so what about all old English medium schools. Such as strong Joseph,st Patrick,st Lawrence and etc which have names of saints in Christianity so if these schools can indoctrine students brain in muslims in Islamic country then why not Islamic English medium schools doing that not in Christians but in muslims only
August 28, 2012 7:37 am
what do you think the americans and the west are doing are so thick , theyve killed over 1 million iraqi muslims destroyed their country which had the highest number of doctors in the world per capita, you think the west really wants to educate the muslims
ali malik
August 27, 2012 6:28 am
We are doomed. Give this country to these mullas and leave.
Jabbar Mohmand
August 27, 2012 5:42 pm
Public universities and other institutes should initiate the teaching of classical religious teachings of all groups, so that the people find less attraction in these hubs of extremism...
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