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Pakistan madrassa reform on hold

Pakistan has put on hold the process of bringing its thousands of madrassas into the mainstream education system till a new government has been formed after next month's general election.

world Updated: Jan 12, 2008 14:44 IST

Pakistan has put on hold the process of bringing its thousands of madrassas into the mainstream education system till a new government has been formed after next month's general election.

Two phases of the madrassa reforms plan registration and inclusion of additional subjects in the syllabus has largely been completed. President Pervez Musharraf has advised authorities to leave the third phase of integrating seminary students into the general system for the next government.

According to figures from the religious affairs ministry, 14,656 madrassas have been registered, leaving only about 1,000 to 1,500 institutions across the country without registration. The incorporation of the federal education board's syllabus into the madrassa course has also been settled.

Religious Affairs Secretary Vakil Ahmed Khan told the Dawn newspaper that Musharraf had advised the ministry to leave the third phase for the next government.

The registration of madrassas, which was voluntary till 2004, was made compulsory through an ordinance the following year.

Khan said the ministry achieved its biggest success when it persuaded major organisations running the madrassas to include science and mathematics in the syllabus.

The idea of setting up a federal madrassa board has been dropped because it was opposed by the Ittehad-i-Tanzimat Madaris Deeniah (ITMD) in 2005, he said.

The issue of madrassa reforms was also taken up by a delegation of US Congressmen that called on Religious Affairs Minister Attaullah Khan on Tuesday.