Pakistan aims to bring religious schools into mainstream

Published: July 20, 2019 18:10:23 | Updated: July 22, 2019 21:58:06

Pakistan has agreed on a plan to overhaul instruction at madrasas or religious schools to bring the institutions closer into line with conventional schools and curb extremist teaching, Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said on Friday, reports Reuters.

The plan is the latest effort to address longstanding concerns that the roughly 30,000 madrasas in Pakistan provide a haven for extremist teaching with a rigid curriculum based around religious studies that fails to prepare students for employment after they graduate.

Under the plan, agreed with the madrasa umbrella organisation, Wafaq-ul-madaris, religious schools would be registered and helped to strengthen conventional teaching in subjects like English, science and mathematics.

They would remain responsible for religious teaching and in exchange would have to commit to ensuring that extremist teaching was not part of the curriculum.

“There will be no preaching of hate speech of any kind against any religion or sect,” he said.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, facing heavy international pressure to clamp down on militant groups operating from Pakistan territory, announced plans earlier this year to “mainstream” the madrasas, often associated with feeding radicalized youth to militant Islamist groups.

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