Pakistani madrassas | PMDC registration exam results
Redeeming Pakistan's madrassas
May 23: Although some of the radical madrassas will still need to be weeded out,
embracing Islamic education with an integrated reform strategy is more likely to
reduce militancy, rather than lamenting madrassas as arcane
As policy-makers and the media abroad agonise over the
situation in Pakistan's Swat valley, madrassas are back on the front page in
papers such as The New York Times. The linkage between extremism and education
should be fairly obvious but it seems to still elude most analysts. Indeed the
word "Taliban" means "students" in Pashto, suggesting an inherent connection of
these militants with some form of "learning".
Incendiary information at
these Islamic seminaries is once again being considered both a symptom and a
cause of Pakistan's problems. The latest mantra appears to be that because
government schools have failed, madrassas are filling a social void that offers
free education and sustenance for the rural poor but causes massive
radicalisation at the same time.
Madrassas in Pakistan are certainly a
matter of concern but rather than finding ways to diminish their recruitment,
they need to be engaged and internally reformed. These seminaries already have a
major physical and financial infrastructure in the country that can be harnessed
positively alongside investments in government schools.
Only four years
ago, famed terrorism analysts Peter Bergen (among the few western journalists to
have interviewed Osama bin Laden) and Swaty Pandey had argued in The New York
Times that concern over Islamic education was all a 'madrassa myth'. Basing
their analysis on a controversial World Bank study (co-authored by two
Pakistani-American academics) about the actual number of madrassas in Pakistan,
Bergen and Pandey had argued that "while madrassas are an important issue in
education and development in the Muslim world, they are not and should not be
considered a threat to the United States" because of their relatively small
number and since terrorists who attacked the West had largely not been educated
However, as many of the suicide bombers in recent months
have been traced back to madrassas, the pendulum has swung again, as now
analysts discover that civil strife in Afghanistan and Pakistan can be just as
dangerous for Western interests. Focusing on the core problem of curricular
reform can provide us a path out of this ambivalence about
While growing up in Pakistan, I attended a private
English-medium school but every afternoon, I would also receive Islamic learning
from a religious scholar who hailed from a prominent madrassa in Lahore. As I
reflect back on that time, the core problem of contemporary Islamic education
remains a general antipathy towards critical thinking.
have existed in other religions as well, but Islamic schools in Pakistan have
contended with a host of circumstances that compounded these challenges. The
sectarian divide between Shias and Sunnis in Pakistan was accentuated by funding
from Iran and Saudi Arabia to specific strains of madrassas, particularly in
southern Punjab. Exclusionary doctrines rather than pluralistic interpretations
of Islamic texts were preached by both sides to gain more adherents. Religious
political parties as well as the Pakistani government and security organisations
capitalised on the fruits of radicalisation since unquestioning allegiance was
easy to achieve with curricula that portrayed the world in stark terms of good
But the radicalisation of madrassas should not lead us to give
up in despair. In other parts of the world, madrassas have served an appropriate
educational purpose. For example in West Bengal, India, a survey of Islamic
schools in January 2009 found that because of the higher quality education at
madrassas, even non-Muslims were actively enrolling in them. This was remarkably
akin to how in Pakistan many Muslim families send their children to Christian
schools because of the high quality of teaching and discipline.
enrolment in several Bengali madrassas, for example, was as high as 64 percent
because many of these institutions offered vocational training programmes. Such
examples can certainly be emulated in Pakistani madrassas as well. We should not
give up on madrassas but rather help bring them back to their heyday of
The strategy of 'draining the swamp' by
establishing sparkling government schools alongside madrassas, which appears to
be the current approach from development donors, is likely to have limited
success. Madrassas will immediately resort to a defensive strategy of labelling
the government schools in conspiratorial terms and still be able to recruit
students quite zealously from religious families. Investment to improve
education is needed across Pakistan in all kinds of schools, including
The only way to solve the madrassa problem is to engage in a
process of reform that focuses on pluralism and conflict resolution skills that
should be facilitated by the Pakistani government with the assistance of other
Muslim countries and ulema.
There are already some positive moves from
the ulema in Pakistan. Religious clerics from both the Deobandi Tablighi Jama'at
and the Barelvi Sunni Tehreek have publicly rejected the Taliban approach to
Islam. Madrassas such as the venerable Jamia Ashrafia in Lahore are now willing
to initiate specific teaching modules that stress the importance of non-violence
and respect for other faith traditions.
Momentum elsewhere towards such
efforts is exemplified by reforms in places such as Indonesia's Guluk-Guluk
pesantren, where Islamic environmental education is being used to develop
peace-building skills. During my visit to central Java last year, I visited
several Islamic schools that are producing very balanced and employable young
professionals. Indonesia, which is the world's largest Muslim country, should
share some of its success in improving madrassa curricula with
Where Western donors can help is to provide vocational training
and apprenticeship programs for madrassa graduates that will be consistent with
their religious values. Careers as healthcare apprentices and disaster relief
professionals are particularly appropriate in this regard.
of the radical madrassas will still need to be weeded out, embracing Islamic
education with an integrated reform strategy is more likely to reduce militancy,
rather than lamenting madrassas as arcane institutions to be eroded by naively
creating an alternate market for schools.
Dr Saleem H Ali is
associate professor of environmental planning and Asian Studies at the
University of Vermont. His most recent book is Islam and Education: conflict and
conformity in Pakistan's madrassas (Oxford University Press, 2009).
www.saleemali.net -Saleem H Ali (Daily Times)
"Please make it clear that shias are against talibans. Sunni i.e. Ahlesunnat (barelwis)are also against taliban and alqaida. But deobandis are in favor of taiban."
City, Country: Karachi, Pakistan
"pakistasn zindabad hai"
City, Country: karachi pakistan
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PMDC registration exam results announced
Islamabad: National Examination Board for Foreign Medical and Dental
Graduates of Pakistan on Thursday announced the final result of the registration
examination of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council held here. The following are
the numbers of the successful candidates:
72344, 81016, 81021, 81065,
81106, 81120, 81143, 81177, 81179, 81180, 81187, 81223, 81224, 81301, 81311,
82076, 82117, 83313, 82215, 82309, 82363, 91018, 91019, 91021, 91022, 91025,
91031, 91035, 91042, 91047, 91049, 91065, 91067, 91069, 91071, 91080, 91084,
91089, 91092, 91094, 91095, 91098, 91099, 91100, 91101, 91103, 91104, 91111,
91114, 91115, 91119, 91121, 91125, 91127, 91131, 91133, 91135, 91137, 91141,
91142, 91143, 91145, 91146, 91148, 91151, 91153, 91157, 91159, 91160, 91163,
91164, 91165, 91167, 91169, 91176, 91178, 91179, 91183, 91192, 91194, 91197,
91198, 91199, 91200, 91203, 91205, 91210, 91211, 91212, 91222, 91230, 91231,
91236, 91239, 91243, 91254, 91257, 91258, 91261, 91264, 91266, 91271, 91272,
91277, 91278, 91279, 91281, 91283, 91288, 91292, 91293, 91296, 91298, 91299,
91304, 91309, 91311, 91315, 91320, 91321, 91322, 91324, 91327, 91338, 91342,
91347, 91352, 91357, 91363, 91366, 91371, 91385, 91392, 91394. Dawn
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No water for children in Rawalpindi schools
Rawalpindi: Most schools in Rawalpindi do not have proper arrangements for
drinking water on their premises. Students and teachers have no option but to
bring water in bottles from their homes. And if this water is consumed, there is
no facility for a refill.
Private schools in Adiala, Tench Bhata, Dhoke
Syedan, Pirwadhai and Sabzazar Colony have no water coolers. The situation is
not much different in government schools of Adiala, Dhoke Illahi Bakhsh, R A
Bazaar, Chungi 22 and other localities.
According to information
collected from various schools, dozens of students fainted during
the last two weeks because of non-availability of drinking water.
parents interviewed said that they were asked by school
managements to send water bottles with children.
Muhammad Abid Hussain
Shah said that his son is studying in a reputed private school but there is no
drinking water in its premises. "No water bottle is large enough to meet the
water requirement of a child for more than five hours in this scorching heat,"
Executive District Officer (Education) Malik Muhammad Ashraf,
when contacted for his comments, admitted that it is a serious
problem. According to him, he would start inspection of schools on Saturday to
see whether they have adequate arrangements for drinking water for students and
teachers. "All schools have enough funds for providing potable water to
students. We would take prompt action as water is necessary for students in the
prevailing weather," he said.
An official of the Rawalpindi Private
Schools Management, Muhammad Asif, said that it is a serious problem. The
management would discuss this issue by calling an emergency meeting. He said
that all schools must make arrangements for drinking water.
On the other
hand, the managements of both government and private schools said that there is
water scarcity in Rawalpindi. They said that they could not provide water to
children as all taps were dry. According to them, they arrange for water through
tankers every day, which is not enough for students.
Dr. Bushra Rehman
said that her eight-year-old son fainted in school last Thursday as there was no
drinking water. "There was no water in his school and he had already consumed
water in his bottle," she said.
Muhammad Asim, a student, said that his
teachers have asked all children to bring drinking water in bottles from their
homes. "After consuming water in our bottles, we go outside the school building
to quench our thirst. Water is available in our school only till 9:30 a.m. There
is no water after that," he said.
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IMCB F-8/4 teachers awarded
Islamabad: Teaches of Islamabad Model College for Boys F-8/4 were awarded
medals for best performances in their respective subjects in a ceremony held in
the college here.
Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) Director-General
Atiq-ur-Rehman presided over the ceremony attended by the FDE directors,
principals of various model colleges and teachers, students and their parents.
Dr Waheed-ud-Din, the college principal, welcomed the guests.
school's headmistress, Riffat Jahan, who has now retired, got gold medal for her
services. The present headmistress, Mrs Asmat Rauf, also got gold medal for
securing 6 GPA in Urdu.
The teachers working in morning shift and got
gold medals for their best performances included Ms Memoona Batool (Mathematics,
GPA 5.91), Mrs Faiza Saleem (English, GPA 5.11), Mrs Shagufta Khalil Rana
(Social Studies and Islamiat, GPA 5.75), and Ms Safia Naz (Islamiat, GPA
Among the evening shift teachers, Mrs Asma Batool got gold medal
for excellent performance in Urdu and Islamiat (GPA 5.81), Mss Zahina Taj for
Mathematics and General Science (GPA 5.31) and Mrs Riffat Luqman (English and
Social Studies, GPA 5.40).
Addressing the ceremony, FDE DG Atiq-ur-Rehman
congratulated the college teachers and their students for giving the best
results in the board examinations blazing the trail for the other educational
institutions of the capital.
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AIOU changes exam centres in conflict-zone
Islamabad: Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) has changed its examination
centres from Swat and Malakand division to other cities due to military
The university has advised the students of these areas to
contact the university head office in Islamabad or its regional offices in their
respective areas for appearing in examination scheduled for May 25.
students of conflict zones have been exempted from the liability of submitting
home assignments; also its number will not be included in the
Students who had gotten admission in Matriculation, CT and B.Ed
have been sent date sheet with roll number slips along with academic books at
their given addresses.
In case of not receiving the books, students can
contact AIOU's regional camp in Hyatabad Town, Peshawar.
Apart from the
conflict zones, examination schedule all over the country will remain unchanged,
the spokesman said. Students who could not receive slips may contact the
concerned regional offices of AIOU.
Meanwhile, controller examinations
Hafeezullah said that roll number slips and date sheets for the examination of
Spring semester 2009 had also been displayed on the website of AIOU and this
process would be completed till June 4. He advised students to follow the rule
and regulations mentioned on the slips. The News
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FJWU organises colloquium
Rawalpindi: Fatima Jinnah Women University (FJWU) on Friday
organised a special faculty colloquium.
According to a press release, Dr
Chad Haines, a Fulbright Research fellow and assistant professor of American
University in Cairo, was guest speaker. FJWU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Saeeda
Asadullah Khan, Associate Prof Dr Yasmin Saikia of UNC, Chapel Hill; deans and a
large number of faculty members were present in the meeting.
colloquium, Haines shared his research on "Islamabad Re-imagined: Neoliberal
Traces and Global Dreams in a Modernist City". He is currently in Pakistan for
Haines, whose analysis on Islamabad is based on various
perspectives, opined the sense of people's perception became important while
describing symbolic values of any city.
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Pakistan Academy of Letters unveils future plans
Islamabad: Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) on Friday nominated renowned Swedish poet Peter Curman and Benazir
Bhutto Shaheed for International "Quaid-e-Azam Award for Literature" and
"Quaid-e-Awam Award for Democracy" respectively for the year 2008.
Chairman Fakhar Zaman made this announcement at a media briefing about academy's
Zaman said PAL had announced these two international
awards worth of Rs 2 million to promote a soft image of Pakistan across the
world. On the occasion of an international conference in 1995 Benazir Bhutto had
announced constitution of these awards during her inaugural speech, he said,
adding, but due to change of the government nothing could be done in this
Zaman said PAL had also announced "Pas-e-Zindaan Award" for best
writings appeared during martial law periods. A committee comprising 13
prominent writers and judges will decide the nominee of this award worth of Rs
100,000, he added.
He said after expiry of PAL Board of Governors (BoG)
tenure, the new BoG members included Afzal Ahsan Randhawa, Masood Ashaar, Tahir
Tounsvi, Muhammad Ali Siddiqui, Fahmeeda Hussain, Shah Muhammad Marri, Saleem
Raz and Alamgir Hashmi.
He said the prime minister had approved increase
in monthly honorarium of needy writers and bereaved families of writers from Rs
3,000 and Rs 4,000 respectively to Rs 5,000.
Zaman said arrangements were
underway for international conference on "Sufism and Peace". He said more than
100 delegates from 70 countries would participate in the conference.
said "Adabiyat" special issues on Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Ahmed Faraz had been
published and a special issue on Munir Niazi was likely to be issued on May 29.
The chairman said to compile selected writings appeared in Pakistani languages
from 1947 to 2007, more than 100 books had been published under the title
"Makers of Pakistani Literature".
The special issue of "Pakistani
Literature" on Pakistani Women Writers will be reprinted, he said, adding, an
important book "Quest of Peace in the Twilight" containing papers presented in
National Conference on "Sufisim and Peace" will also be published.
going to reprint soon "Bhutto Trial" in two volumes, a book containing documents
and reports regarding the trial of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Shaheed, he said. Zaman
also announced to publish a series of books on Benazir Bhutto Shaheed.
announced that PAL was planning to publish Urdu translations of modern American
poets while English translation of Pakistani poets will be produced in America.
Both of the books have been finalised and soon will be out, he added.
"Documentaries on Sufi poets and prominent writers of Pakistan will be
produced, while 45 documentaries are in the pipeline," said the chairman,
adding, projects regarding establishment of a recording studio and TV channel
have been submitted to the government for financial assistance. He said process
for establishment of a FM radio channel had also been initiated. Daily Times
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