ISLAMABAD: The authorities have yet to initiate the registration process of seminaries under last year’s uniform data collection project. Though the data forms have been drafted, they have still not been shared with the religious schools.
While the majority of seminaries have expressed willingness to participate in the registration process, the government has not formally announced when the drive will commence.
Around 25,000 seminaries are already registered with provincial governments, but many across the country have yet to be recognised. The syllabus of these seminaries has never been discussed at the government level.
The Express Tribune has learnt that despite developing consensus among the seminary boards on uniform data registration form, the government has taken no step forward.
The federal government first wants to take all provinces on board over this issue as the provincial governments are supposed to carry out the data collection drive, sources said.
A meeting of all the provincial chief ministers was supposed to take place in April in Islamabad for getting their input on the subject. This meeting could not take place, however.
The sources said the registration and data collection campaign could only be started after the meeting of chief ministers.
Under the drafted “Uniform Registration and Data Forms of Madrassas”, the religious schools are supposed to provide basic information about their institutions, including the number of students enrolled, the faculties, information of bank accounts and affiliations with a specific school of thought, among other relevant details.
Through the campaign, the government wants to make sure the seminaries are not involved in any sort of extremism besides getting to know about the type of education imparted.
Mufti Muhammad Naeem, the principal of the influential Jamia Binoria seminary in Karachi, says the religious schools have no problems with registration forms. “About 98 per cent of such institutes have already been registered with the relevant authorities and have no issues in sharing the basic particulars about their functioning,” he said.
Naeem, however, added he had not yet seen the draft of the data and registration form. He has been assured the form will be shared with him in a few days.
He also blamed the interior ministry and other relevant government department for delays in finalising the draft forms.
Even though the exercise has been long overdue under the National Action Plan (NAP), the government in February had decided to start much-awaited registration of seminaries in April.
Under the NAP against terrorism devised after the 2014 Peshawar school massacre, the government had decided to streamline religious schools across the country.
Last year, the government had also started digital mapping of madrassas on agreed parameters with different religious education authorities.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 15th, 2016.
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