ISLAMABAD: The deadline for implementing madrasa reforms as proposed under the country’s counter terrorism policy – the National Action Plan (NAP) – is approaching, but the federal government has yet to make any significant progress in the context.
According to a report submitted before the Senate, most of the funds allocated for the reforms in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) have not yet been spent.
Mainstreaming of the religious seminaries was part of the 20-point NAP, formulated in the wake of the deadly attack on Peshawar’s Army Public School (APS) in December 2014.
Replying in writing to a question of Senator Ahmed Hassan, Minister for Education Balighur Rehman said the other day that the project titled ‘Mainstreaming of Madrasas’ was for introducing primary education in seminaries in the above areas.
The project aimed at introducing primary education alongside the curricula of madrasas to bring about ‘qualitative improvement’ in students of seminaries through the provision of quality education in accordance with the National Education Standards finalised by the Ministry of Education.
The project also aimed at encouraging seminaries to introduce the subjects of science, mathematics, social studies and English in the seminaries’ curricula for grade one to five as primary targets.
However, the statistics that he gave tell about the exact percentage of performance for the plan for which his ministry and the ministry of religious affairs have been working for the last three years.
According to the reply, implementation of the reforms in the ICT has been the highest at 40%, followed by 25% in Fata, 15% in G-B and 20% in AJK. Interestingly, the Planning Commission approved the project in 2014
The time period of the project is three years from July 2015 to June 2018 but the pace of progress shows the government is racing against time. Of the Rs50 million allocated, only Rs7 million has been released and spent to date.
The process has taken three years, as five different madrasa boards, belonging to different schools of thought, agreed in 2017 to share their curricula with each other and the government.
Rehman also informed the house that out of 228 plagiarism cases in research publications – received since 2007 – as many as 182 were resolved through various actions against the researchers.
During question hour in the House, the minister said 229 meetings of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Plagiarism Standing Committee were held to eradicate the menace of plagiarism from the research publication.
Missions on rent
Responding to another question, the foreign minister submitted in writing that during the last four years, the Foreign Office has paid Rs5.4 billion against the rent of foreign missions in the United States and Europe.
Minister for Communications Abdul Kareem told the House that the 205km-long Bajour-Jandola-Zhob road is a part of the proposed 933km-long Fata highway but the project had yet to be started.