Wafaq-ul-Madaris reservation over Madrassah Authority

Authority should provide funds for education
Islamabad, Sep 16: The Wafaq-ul-Madaris-ul-Arbia expressed its reservation over the establishment of Madrassah Education Authority by Ministry of Interior and said that it should be set up by Ministry of Religious Affairs or Ministry of Education.

The Chapter Four titled 'Islamic Education' of National Education Policy (NEP) 2009 says that Madrassah Education Authority shall be established by Ministry of Interior in order to provide an opportunity for all existing and future 'madaris' to excel and enhance the services they already provide to the nation.

It is further stated that the authority should provide funds for education and socio-economic welfare of students, provide infrastructure and equipment for improvement of existing facilities, provide further training to enhance skills of teachers, provide support in vocational training to equip students to generate income and to provide advice and assistance in streamlining policies, objectives and syllabi to give graduates a competitive edge in the job market and for placement in institutions of higher education.

However the Wafaq-ul-Madaris-ul-Arbia is of the opinion that there was no point in handing over all seminaries to Ministry of Interior as it has nothing to do with education.

Wafaq-ul-Madaris-ul-Arbia spokesperson Maulana Abdul Qudus said that the decision of the regulatory authority has been taken without taking religious organisations into confidence. "The decision of handing over the authority to Ministry of Interior is above understanding, especially when religious quarters are not taken into confidence," he said.

He, however, hailed the decision according to which 'madrassah' students would be provided advice and assistance in streamlining policies, objectives and syllabi to give graduates a competitive edge in the job market and for placement in institutions of higher education.

"It has been for the first time that 'madrassahs' have been given such importance in any education policy till now," he said while adding that they would be more than happy if they were taken into confidence before giving a final shape to the policy document.

He demanded that amendments made in curriculum during Pervez Musharraf regime should be undone. "We do not accept any such amendments which are made in the name of moderation during a dictator's regime," he said.

It is worth mentioning here that in a high-level meeting held on September 9 in the cabinet room, the Prime Minister's Secretariat, in response to a query with regard to 'madrassah' reforms, explained that working of all seminaries would be streamlined by introducing contemporary studies. It was also explained that the Turkish government had successfully modernised their religious institutions and Pakistan may benefit from its experience.

The policy document also states that the objectives of teaching of Islamiyat shall be to ensure that all Muslim children are provided opportunities to learn and apply the fundamental principles of Islam in their lives with the purpose of reformation and development of society on the principles of Holy Qur'aan and Sunnah.

It further stated that the Islamiyat Curriculum shall be divided into five main topics - Al-Qur'aan Al Kareem, Imaniyat and Ibadat, Seerat-e-Tayyaba, Ethics and Good Behaviour (towards others) and Prominent Personalities of Islam.

Ministry of Education Deputy Education Adviser (DEA) T M Qureshi said that the decision of setting up the Madrassah Education Authority was taken by the prime minister and the ministry has nothing to do with it.

"It is not that we have compiled the policy in the drawing room. Religious organisations were also taken into confidence in the process," he said.

While Federal Minister for Education Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, on one occasion, has said that the authority would jointly work under the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Ministry of Interior.

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QAU administration to be shifted to new block before Eid
Islamabad: The Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) administration is being shifted to the new administration block before Eidul Fitr, as was decided in a meeting of chairmen and directors of departments, affiliated centres and institutes of QAU last month.

According to a statement issued by the University, the QAU authorities have opined that the said building at the new location was constructed as an administration block, a fact that could be verified not only by the site plan and other records available with its Directorate of Works but also by its architecture, as it was designed to be used for administration purposes.

The building has offices for vice-chancellor, registrar, controller of examinations, treasurer, audit officer and their affiliated offices, staff and records, but no space for classrooms, seminar rooms and faculty rooms. Even a big hall in the building is for conducting meetings of Syndicate and other statutory bodies.

The PC-1 of the block was approved during the tenure of the University's former vice-chancellor Capt (r) UAG Isani and more than half of the construction was carried out during his tenure. The QAU statement pointed out that no issue was raised at the time of the block's construction but when the building was ready for shifting, some elements of employees started opposing it.

The Employees Welfare Association (EWA) is opposing the administration's shifting to the said block for it being away from the main campus at a desolated site and for having substandard construction quality. EWA instead wants to use another new building, named as Joint Academic Block, for the administration works despite its design being made purely for teaching purposes and not to house the administration, which invariably consists of non-teaching staff. EWA has threatened to go on strike if the QAU authorities force the employees to shift to the new administration block. The shifting was supposed to start from Saturday last but did not because of the opposition.

The QAU authorities emphasised that contrary to some reports in a section of the press, it is not a question of the involvement of a particular vice-chancellor in the decision regarding shifting to the administration block, as the building was originally designed as an administration block and the decision to shift the administration to the new site was made many a times by the relevant bodies in the past, much before the said meeting of the chairmen and directors on August 17 this year.

The building is vacant for the last three years and the QAU authorities were lately told point blank by the government that no development funds would be provided to the University unless the vacant building is occupied by the administration. Besides, they said, a huge amount of money would be required to convert the administration block into an academic block, almost close to the construction of a new block, in order to make it useful for some other purposes.

The QAU authorities have claimed that the University would ply a bus service from the old campus to the site of the new block after every 30 minutes to spare the students, teachers, employees and other visitors of any problem. They said the practice is not uncommon in many other public sector universities of the country, and referred to Punjab University, which has its administration in the Old Campus while its New Campus has been constructed more than 15km away.

It may be mentioned that the Centre for Gender Studies since February 2009 has already started taking its classes in the existing administration building at a space that was vacated by the administration's Project Directorate, which moved into the new administration block along with the audit office last year. The University says that the space left vacant after shifting of the whole administration to its new site will be given to the needy departments.

The administration expressed its surprise on EWA's stance of using the new administration block for academic purposes, as on one hand, the Association described the new building as 'not being in good condition due to substandard material used in its construction' while on the other hand, it wants to shift the teaching blocks to this building, 'as if the lives of students and teachers are of no importance'.

The University insisted that the new building is safe and in good condition, and the quality of material used in its construction was no different from that used in other nearby newly constructed buildings. The administration reiterates its resolve to implement the decision of the relevant bodies and use the new block for the purpose for which it was originally designed and constructed. The news

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University student killed on road
Rawalpindi: A university student died after being run over by a military vehicle on Airport Road on Tuesday morning, police said.

Noman Talib, a final year student, was going to his university in Islamabad on his motorbike (RIK-9384) when the vehicle driven by Nazir Ahmed knocked him down at Rahimabad Chowk.

Police handed over the body to his family after postmortem and registered a case against the driver.

Meanwhile, the Anti-Narcotics Force arrested a Saudi Arabia-bound passenger identified as Irfan Mehdi with 80 heroin filled capsules hidden in his stomach at Benazir Bhuto International Airport on Monday.

Meanwhile, a man was killed in a traffic accident in Tarlai on Tuesday.

Syed Saif Khan suffered multiple injuries when a Suzuki pickup hit him at the bus stop. He was taken to hospital where he died. The police arrested the driver and impounded his vehicle.

Meanwhile, robbers looted cash and gold ornaments worth a million of rupees from a house in Banigala.

The police said four armed robbers entered the house of Major (retired) Waseem after Iftar, held the residents at gunpoint and looted the valuables.

The police said a formal complaint about the incident was yet to be lodged with them. The police questioned the veracity of the incident and said the circumstantial evidence and statements of the robbery victims raised suspicion. It seems that this was a result of an internal family dispute, the police added.

Meanwhile, six vehicles were stolen while two houses were ransacked by burglars in different parts of Rawalpindi on Monday, police said. Dawn

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