Priority should be given to skill-based education
IN the midst of changing the narrative about the madrassahs as the breeding hotspots of militants for a high number of general and English-medium educated youths' involvement in the militancy found, and the government's recognition of Qawmi Madrassahs, as well as growing income inequality, have contributed to the rise of madrassah students in the country. The rise of enrolment has also been boosted by the relaxation in the bars for madrassah students on admission for Higher Education. Not only poor parents, but affluent people are also sending children to Qawmi and Aliah Madrassahs as they thought the schools have failed in imparting moral values.
People's interest in sending children to madrassahs is on the rise firstly as more and more people indulge in the practice of Islam seeing the moral degradation and social instability. The trend gained further momentum after the government recognised Qawmi Madrassah's Dawra-e-Hadith degree in 2017 and relaxed the bars on enrolment for Higher Education for Aliah Madrassah students that follow the government curriculums. Now Qawmi Madrssah students having the Dawra-e-Hadith degree can apply for jobs for which a Master degree holder in Islamic Studies or Arabic can. Educationists and social scientists explain the trend as a manifestation of people losing faith in the country's socio-political institutions and the state machinery where the sense of morality and values is on a sharp decline. It's no surprise that people are leaning more and more towards the religion and sending children to madrassahs in this society where the democratic institutions are not functioning properly. Under the circumstances, nobody - not even the government - can stop this trend. Instead of stopping the trend, the government should emphasis providing skill-based education in madrassahs and schools.
Urban poor send children to madrassahs as education there costs no money and food is free at the boarding facilities. On the other hand, well-off people are sending children to madrassahs as these students can now enroll at universities after the requisite qualifications were eased in favour of madrassah students. The Annual Primary School Census 2016 showed that the number of Ebtedayee Madrassahs and Ebtedayee-attached high madrassahs in the country was 9,271, which enrolled 572,718 students. Madrassah educationists said that parents are showing more interest in sending children to madrassahs to protect them from the degrading society and give them the opportunity of better education with a strong sense of morality.
The government should develop an effective education system assessing the country's needs and emphasis on vocational education. Besides, the overall dysfunction of democratic institutions and a sharp fall of moral mosaic should be addressed first.