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Mosque-schools to be merged with govt primary schools

LAHORE, July 25: All religious mosque-schools (makatib) of the province will be merged with government primary schools by the end of this year, Special Secretary of Schools Capt (r) Zahid Saeed said on Monday.

He said the Education Department had served notice to the executive district officers (EDOs) of all districts of the province to this effect. He said more than 2,500 mosque-schools in North Punjab had already been merged with government primary schools and the government was working on taking the same steps with the rest.

Saeed said currently 5,000 mosque-schools were running in the country and approximately 500,000 students were enrolled in those schools. He said this decision was not taken on account of any political pressure. He said the action had been taken by the Punjab government as part of its revolutionary steps in the education sector. He said thousands of primary schools were being set up across Punjab, which would help develop the status of education. He said that in the areas where there were no primary schools, the mosque-schools would be upgraded to the primary school-level by constructing new rooms.

He said the government did not want to stop the mosque-schools as institutions, however, if people continued to run makatib in mosques, those institutions would not be considered government-recognised institutions.

Section Officer in the Education Department Ameer Safdar Malik said that the faculty of mosque-schools were the mosques' prayer leader and a government teacher. He said mosque-schools taught students from classes one to three. He said most students of mosque-schools were too poor to afford other institutions.

Director of Public Instructions (Elementary Education) Muhammad Ashraf Naz said that the government had taken the decision to merge mosque-schools with primary schools on people's complaints that these schools were not working well and their teachers (the prayer leaders of the mosques) were mostly absent.

Naz said the idea of mosque-schools had emerged in 1980 when the government had started these schools to improve the level of basic education. He said the past government had not been able to take this step due to lack of funds. Daily times
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