The Islamic ideological state of Pakistan is at an escalating war with the militia segment of Madaris students -the Taliban. In this CN “Idea” we recognize the complex historical and geo-political causes of the rise of the warring Taliban and the conflict that our nation faces as a consequence. However, the focus of our CN Idea will be on a single and simple point, that in our view, can be the basis of integrating the Madaris and their students into the mainstream Pakistani society in a much positive and productive manner.
In the first place we acknowledge that Madaris are providing educational services to about 6 million poorest of the poor children of our own nation. India, Bangladesh and Indonesia are some of the other countries where Madaris also play a similarly significant role in their respective societies. In Pakistan, like the other countries cited, Madaris are financed by (the over Rs. 96 billion) charities, awqaf and zakat contributed by the public annually. Hence Madaris are not a source of burden on our public resources. It is therefore, highly appreciable that Madaris are offering educational services to the poorest of the poor without burdening the government resources.
However, there is an extremely serious problem with the curriculum of Madaris in that it is entirely ancient in content and inspiration. Hence the Madaris do not prepare their graduates to participate in the development process, to contribute to it and to benefit from it. Therefore, the strategists of the Afghan-Soviets war and other mini Jihads were and are able to create a strong employment-market for the Jihadi services of the warring Madaris students.
Thus reforming the curriculum of Madaris has been the center of proposals for enhancing the positive role of Madaris in our societies (for the large intellectual and policy work done all over the world on this subject, see, this Google search result: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=madaris+reform&btnG=Search). However, all the suggestions of reform are vehemently rejected by the Management of Madaris on the pretext that these proposals are conscious attempts of “secularization” and Western indoctrination.
To address this dilemma, our CN Idea is an analogy on the Malakand “Nizam Adl Legislation”. Pakistan, as an Islamic state cannot say “no” to Islamic legislation, The law must however, be interpreted and implemented by the state and its institutions and and this cannot be left to groups of people.. Therefore, we suggest that the federal government shall force the Madaris to introduce the following courses in their curriculum at various stages:
Islamic Accounting and Auditing Standards
Islamic Financial Management
Shariah Supervision of Businesses
Strategic Management of Awqaf and Zakat Organizations
Islamic Capital Markets and Asset Management
Numerous other related courses.
Introduction of these and related courses will develop professional competencies of the Madaris graduate in the modern management sciences. On the other hand, the booming global Shariah-based businesses will beneficially employ the new breed of the professional as opposed to the warring Taliban.
We expect that many Madaris will not object to such a home grown strategy of curriculum reform. In case of non-acceptance by some Madaris, the state institutions will have higher moral grounds and public support to enforce the reform like that of the enforcement of the Malakand “Nizam Adl Legislation”.
We understand that this CN Idea has the potential of bringing a far reaching positive change in the Madaris educational system and hence in promoting an inclusive economic development. Through CN we urge the provincial and federal governments to consider the proposed strategy seriously. It can be expected that advisory and technical assistance from relevant international organizations and Islamic banks will be readily available for capacity building and strategy implementation.