ISLAMABAD: In compliance with the ‘Compulsory Teaching of the Holy Quran Bill, 2017’, all educational institutes running under the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) have started teaching naazrah Quran (reading Quran) to students from classes one to five.
The Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training announced that teaching of the Quran will be made compulsory for all students of classes one to twelve in all public and private educational institutes controlled by the federal government, including those in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
In the first phase of implementing the new government policy, schools running under FDE have started teaching the noorani qaida to students of classes one to five.
The second phase, which requires the teaching of an easy-to-understand, generally approved translation of the Quran to students of classes six to twelve, has yet to begin as the federal ministry has not provided the required translated books so far, FDE Director General Hasnat Qureshi told Pakistan Today.
According to the schedule prepared by FDE, students will be taught five, nine, twelve, seventeen and twenty-five percent of the Quran to students of classes six, seven, eight, nine and ten, respectively. Students of Higher Secondary School Certificate will be taught the remaining fifteen and seventeen percent of the holy text in their first and second years respectively, comprising those surahs which were revealed in Madina.
Speaking with Pakistan Today, Hasnat Qureshi said that the concerned authorities have been issued instructions for the implementation of the prepared schedule in its true spirit.
A simple translation of the Holy Quran agreed upon by all religious sects has been included in the curriculum, as per the newly passed bill.
The bill reads: “It will make the divine message understood; ensure the repose of society; peace and tranquility; promote the supreme human values of truth, honesty, integrity, character building, tolerance, understanding others’ point of view and way of life. It will lead towards spreading goodness and auspiciousness and towards ending chaos and uncertainty,” read the bill.
According to the bill, it will also help the state discharge its constitutional responsibility. The bill also says there will be no additional expenses for books and teachers, as translations will be donated to all federal government schools and all the educational institutions already have teachers who can easily teach the Quran and its translation.
The bill, as passed by the National Assembly on April 19, reads: “It will make the divine message understood; ensure the repose of society; peace and tranquility; promote the supreme human values of truth, honesty, integrity, character building, tolerance, understanding others’ point of view and way of life. It will lead towards spreading goodness and auspiciousness and towards ending chaos and uncertainty”.
It further says that the bill will help the state discharge its constitutional responsibility, since Article 31 (2) of the Constitution requires that the state should endeavour to make the teaching of Quran and Islamic studies (Islamiyat) compulsory for all Muslim students of Pakistan.
According to the bill, additional expenses by educational institutes to ensure its implementation will not be required since it will be the government’s responsibility to provide the translated text to the federal government schools, while the schools already hire teachers who are capable of teaching the Quran and its translation.
Hasnat Qureshi said that naazrah Quran will be taught for 15 to 20 minutes along with Islamiyat classes. He said that teachers of Islamiyat will be teaching the Quran to students. In case an Islamiyat teacher is not available at a school, teachers of Arabic and Urdu will be designated the responsibility.
About private schools, Qureshi said that letters had been written to them asking if they needed any assistance in implementing the bill. He said that the private schools will make the required arrangements in accordance with their respective systems.
Speaking about the proposed program, a senior government official commented that students will be able to recite the Holy Quran in five years, reducing the burden on parents, who currently have to hire Quran teachers or send their children to madrassahs, significantly. He added that the translation to be taught has been finalised by the ministry in consultation with religious scholars of different schools of thought. “The approved translation is so simple that even an Urdu teacher can easily teach it to his or her students”, he said.
Taking precedence over government institutes, private schools under the Private Schools Network, which represents about 750 low-cost schools, had already started teaching the Quran in 2016 when a draft of the bill was first presented before the cabinet.
Talking to Pakistan Today, Private School Network President Dr Afzal Babar said that private schools started teaching of the Holy Quran at high school level when the government just prepared the draft of the bill back in 2016.
He said that Federal Education and Professional Training State Minister Balighur Rehman was caught by surprise when he came to know that most of the private educational institutions had already started teaching Quran at their schools.
“Children will initially be taught noorani qaida, topic-wise surahs, and stories from the Quran about various prophets to create an interest among them about Islamic teachings,” he added.
He said that they had distributed 50,000 translated books among students of private schools in federal capital free of cost, besides training teachers who will teach Quran in the educational institutions.
Under the first phase of implementation in private schools, students of class three and those from class seven onwards will be taught the Quran with translations in line with the government’s policy, Babar said. It would be implemented in middle school in the second phase and in primary schools in the third phase, he said adding that the bill will be fully implemented within three years.