Army chief calls for widening scope of madressah education

Ceria Alfonso
Diciembre 8, 2017

Stressing on the need for revisiting education standards at religious madrassas across the country, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Thursday said religious seminaries must offer more than theological education to pupils.

Speaking at a seminar titled "Human Resource Development for Youth of Balochistan - Opportunities and Challenges" in Quetta, he said, "Army is a state institution meant to serve the shall continue to perform its role while national security and development remain a national obligation for all state institutions".

General Bajwa's remarks, apparently off-the-cuff during a prepared speech, were a rare example of an army chief criticising the religious seminaries, which are often built adjacent to mosques and underpin Islamisation efforts by religious hardliners.

The army chief said although he was not against madrassas, the education that they provided was inadequate, for it did not prepare students for the needs of the modern world.

Reuters adds: Gen Bajwa said he was recently told that 2.5 million students were being taught in madressahs. "So what will they become: will they become Maulvis (clerics) or they will become terrorists?" he asked, saying it was impossible to build enough mosques to employ the huge number of madressah students. "All of us have a duty to the nation", Gen Bajwa maintained.

Resultantly, many of these madrassa graduates descent into the chaos of unemployment and become vulnerable to extremist ideologies, trends and subsequently, actions.

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Gen Bajwa said that our future is bright and our youth is fully capable of taking on the mantle.

In his address, COAS Bajwa said over 25,000 students from Balochistan are receiving education at the army and paramilitary-run schools all over the country.

"We have enough resources we just need to improve our human resource". Almost 20,000 sons of Balochistan were serving in the army, including over 600 as officers while 232 cadets were undergoing training at the Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul.

On civil service, he expressed the need for it to be made attractive so that the top talent can come in this field which is the backbone of any country.

He further said that the province's representation gets even higher when Baloch youth in the Pakistan Air Force, Pakistan Navy and other Law Enforcement Agencies are taken into account.

The COAS announced establishment of an MRI centre at Turbat and expediting work on already announced educational institutions.

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