The rise in the news on social media regarding the physical violence that is taking place on the students (boys and girls) studying in madrasahs has compelled me to become a voice of madrassah going students. Being a former student of madrasahs, I can identify the reason behind this physical violence, which is clearly the non-training of teachers teaching in madrasahs.
The educational sector of Pakistan is divided into Public schools, Private schools, and Madrasahs. Out of which madrasahs are considered to be a hub of Islamic religious thought and learning. However, instead of instigating a message of ‘tolerance and peace‘ amongst the students who are enrolled there specifically to learn and Hifz Quran, few of the teachers instead have been reported to abuse these minors.
A number of videos went viral on the Internet in which few untrained teachers of madrasahs were committing physical violence on their students. These videos are very disturbing and portray the negative image of our madrasahs in Pakistan. However, this is not the real situation as few untrained teachers at madrasahs have ruined the real image of our traditional madrasah system.
Madrasah education is the cheapest among all other education systems in Pakistan. Therefore, naturally more amongst the poor parents leave their children in madrasahs from where they get free education, free food, and free accommodation. These small minors are left in madrasahs under the custodianship of a madrasah teacher. These teachers due to having no training on how to treat their students, end up teaching the way they have been taught in their madrasahs one or two decades ago. Nevertheless, now the times have changed and there are rules and regulations existing in the country for private, public sector schools and madrasahs. Consequently, systematic attention is required for the protection of children studying in madrasahs against physical violence.
Most Importantly, the children in private schools are tech-literate which is why they can raise any of their concerns on social media. Even regarding their untrained teachers on their own and can attract the general public to help them. As result, private sector institutions have already managed to formulate internal policies against physical violence on students. On the other hand, children in madrasahs are unable to deliver or convey their message through social media to the general public in an appropriate manner. This is because there is no internal policy that protects them and their voices and agony is being ill responded by the masses.
Pursuant to the Ordinance of “The Pakistan Madrasah Education (Establishment and Affiliation of Model Dini Madaris) Board Ordinance 2001”, the Ministry of education and Professional Training and Ministry of Religious Affairs is responsible to regulate madrasas including its curriculum, teachers training, affiliation, etc. Further, pursuant to section 5 (d) of The Pakistan Madrasah Education (Establishment and Affiliation of Model Dini Madaris) Board Ordinance 2001, the board has the power to organize teachers’ training program in madrasahs. The reason for this section is to improve the quality of teachers teaching in madrasahs. Hence, it is important to train teachers in madrassas on how to teach children with love, affection, and through contemporary techniques of learning the Quran. It is important to train such teachers and instigate in them the virtue that mere hitting of your students is against the teachings of the Quran, Sunnah, and the laws of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
Furthermore, The Child Protection System Bill 2014 section 2 (e) (v) also determines the child is at risk when he/she is being or is likely to be abused or exploited for immoral or illegal purposes or gain. Despite all that, the full realization of the rights of these children is still going to demand enormous time and effort. Hence, systematic attention is needed for the purpose of protecting the rights of madrasah-going children in Pakistan especially through immediate banning of physical violence on them.
Recently, Khatanas’ Law Chamber has a filed a writ petition titled Malik Muhammad Abdul Basit Khatana vs. Ministry of Education and Professional Training etc, Case # 42519/20 in the Lahore High Court, which was fixed before the honorable Justice Shams Mehmood Mirza. The notices were issued to the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Religious Affairs that are unable to submit the reply from the last two court hearings. Therefore, the delay in submitting the reply has raised a very pertinent question that whether the abovementioned ministries or HEC have ever thought to train teachers in Madrasahs the same way teachers have been trained in other education sectors.
In the end, we all need to realize as a nation that the law is the same for everyone. We cannot make laws and implement them neglecting a large number of madrassah-going students. Although they belong to the poor class of the society, this does not mean they can be abused physically in the hands of untrained teachers at madrassahs. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the abovementioned ministries to device proper training for teachers at madrassahs so our children who choose to go to madrassahs feel equally protected as private school going, students. The end to this discrimination can do wonders and we can create better leaders for the future of Pakistan.