Madrassas to be integral part of new education policy


–PTI govt intends to bring madrassas at par with mainstream institutes in proposed uniform education system

ISLAMABAD: The federal government is all set to launch a new nationwide education policy on Tuesday (today) with a special focus on madrassas in which they will be convinced to introduce general subjects to increase employment opportunities for their students.

The Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood will be the chief guest on the occasion, who will also launch enrollment drive for the 30,000 out-of-school children of Islamabad on the same day.

Well-placed sources told Pakistan Today that four main components of the education policy include enrollment of 25 million out-of-school children, introduction of uniform curriculum and system, boosting quality and skill development.

They said that since madrassas were long ignored in the past, the new policy will aim at bringing them at par with the mainstream institutes in the proposal of uniform education system that would include provision of free textbook, grant-in-aid to pay salaries of teachers and teachers’ training.

The federal government is providing free textbooks to student of the government schools, but the students in the madrassas do not enjoy such facility, where an estimated 4 million students are enrolled.

In addition, sources said that the new education policy is also focusing on a uniform education system in the country, where the common core subjects would be made compulsory in all education sectors including, public, private and madrassah system.

They said that special focused was also given on capacity enhancement under which it was recommend to start double shift in existing institutions, involving private schooling system in TVET, engaging universities into TVET system using high-end technology along with handing over of non-operational institutes to the private sector.

They said that the education ministry is leading the process of curriculum revision with the engagement of experts and stakeholders from the public and private sector in phased manner to develop the textbook compatible with the international standards, besides ratification of the UNESCO convention against the discrimination in education.

The new policy will include the development of education document comprising a set of core values such as personal care and hygiene, care and compassion for others, safety and security, drugs, responsible citizenships, peace, respect, tolerance and celebration of diversity.

It was developed in consultation with the Ministry of Human Rights, NDMA, NAB, NACTA, HEC, Ministry of Narcotic, Islamabad Traffic Police and Water Aid Pakistan, they added.

They said that in the new policy special emphasis given to increasing the budgetary allocation up to 4 % of GDP, as without enhancing the budget the cherished dream could not materialise.

They said that it was recommend that all compulsory subjects including Urdu, English, Maths, Science Islamiyat, Pakistan Studies and teaching of Holy Quran-Nazra and Fehm-e-Quran for Muslim students only should be included in all streams of education system from primary to higher secondary education.

In line with O and A levels system of education, all compulsory subjects should be included in the curricula of grade 1 to 10, whereas only specialised subjects should be taught in grades 11 to 12. It also recommended that integration of O and A level with SSC and HSSC should be ensured.

They said that it was recommend that English may be taught as a subject from Grade-I but the medium of instruction at primary level should either be Urdu, the national language, or provinces may choose regional languages as the medium of instruction at pre-primary and primary levels as it has emerged in a number of studies that children learn better in their mother tongue while the use of foreign language as the medium of instruction does not have a very positive impact on children, sources said.

One of the recommendations want all provinces, including the private sector, to show willingness on setting up a common national system of assessment and examination, besides strengthening of a forum of Inter Board Committee of Chairmen (IBCC).

In addition, they said that implementation of the action points proposed will require a devoted team of individual experts and a focal organisation for planning, implementing and follow up. The government may create an entirely new organisation to exclusively undertake above-listed tasks or designate this function to an appropriate existing body.