Pakistani madressahs have announced holding annual examinations and resuming classes from August 5.
The Wifaq ul Madaris Al-Arabia Pakistan, one of the largest boards of Islamic seminaries, has announced holding annual examinations across the country, while the Ittehad-e-Tanzeemat-e-Madaris Pakistan (ITMP) is planning to resume learning activities at madrasas from August 5.
However, the ITMP will announce its decision after a meeting to be held on July 7 with Federal Minister for Education & Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood.
The ITMP is a conglomerate of five constituent boards, namely the Wafaq-ul-Madaris Al-Arabia Pakistan, the Tanzeem-ul-Madaris Ahl-e-Sunnat, the Rabita-ul-Madaris Al-Islamia, the Wafaq-ul-Madaris Al-Salfia and the Wafaq-ul-Madaris Al-Shia.
“The ITMP’s representatives will discuss the issue of the reopening of religious seminaries with the federal education minister in the next meeting. We are expecting that the government will surely allow the administrators of madrasas to resume on-campus educational activities from August 5,” said Wifaq-ul-Madaris spokesman Talha Rahmani.
He said that almost all seminaries were strictly following the SOPs announced by the World Health Organisation and the federal and provincial governments.
“The same SOPs will be followed during the annual examinations and afterwards,” he said. “Last month, the representatives of the ITMP and senior members of each board separately met with the provincial education minister to fully functionalise the seminaries. Despite the Sindh government’s response was very positive, the date for the reopening of madrasas is yet to be decided,” he said.
“However, the provincial government had agreed to introduce SOPs for the reopening madrasas that are almost ready.”
Rehmani, however, said if the government didn’t allow the reopening of seminaries, then the administrators of madrasas would be “free to take decisions in the interest of our students”.
“The reopening of seminaries in the month of August is very crucial for completing academic sessions and starting new sessions, else millions of students would lose one academic year. At present, the Wifaq ul Madaris Al-Arabia has announced the schedule of annual examination only.”
According to a press statement issued by the Wifaq ul Madaris Al-Arabia Pakistan last week, those students who were enrolled in the seminaries of other provinces will attempt annual exams from July 11 to 16 in their respective districts. Exams will be conducted in the open spaces following the SOPs.
According to Rehmani, the decision of conducting examinations was also discussed with the relevant authorities. “But the problem is that there is no uniform regulating body on federal and provincial levels for religious seminaries. This is why the Wifaq ul Madaris Al-Arabia Pakistan announced the schedule of annual examinations.”
He added: “We are always ready to cooperate with government but there is nobody to welcome us and address the issues being faced by the seminaries.”