‘Highlights from FATA Statistical Report (2014-15) of Deeni Madaris’ is one of our most popular blogs posted on Pakistan Data Portal. It presented quantitative data on religious seminaries in FATA. This blog aims to cover the qualitative aspect of education being imparted in these religious seminaries by sharing summary findings of the study report ‘Role of Post-Noon Engagements of Madrassa Students in Radical Orientation’ published by Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies.
The study captured post-study activities of students to find the possible linkages between activities and militant mind-set. It is based on interviews with 16 teachers and 50 students from the following five seminaries:
1.Jamia Abu Hanafia, Peshawar (Deobandi)
2.Jamia Junaidia, Peshawar (Barelvi)
3.Jamia Asaria, Peshawar (Ahl-e-Hadith)
4.Jamia Naeemia, Islamabad (Barelvi)
5.Jamia-e-Muhammadia, Islamabad (Deobandi)
The study found that majority of students (76%) were Pashtuns from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa & FATA. This situation was not prevalent in Peshawar alone. Pashtuns represented majority enrolment in Islamabad’s seminaries too. 50% of the surveyed students were between 21 and 25 years of age. 13 were between 18 and 20 years; two were under 18; eight were between 26 and 30.
After KP, most students belonged to Punjab i.e. nine. Seven students belonged to FATA. One student belonged from Islamabad and AJK each.
All 50 students felt satisfied with the curriculum being taught. The reason for this overwhelming satisfaction is limited exposure of the students. They tend to be occupied with their own Madrassa’s curriculum and hence they do not compare it with other Madrassas’ curriculum. Thus, they feel that what they are being taught is infallible.
Students tend to opt those subjects in the Madrassa which are comparatively easy yet ensure a promising future. On the other hand they don’t opt for complex subjects. Quran/Tafseer (Exegesis) is the most favourite subject of surveyed students. 26 students had opted it. Unfortunately, Ilm-ul-Kalam, which deals with defence of tenets of Islam through debate, was not chosen by any of the students. 19 students opted for Hadith/Usul-Hadith. Eight had opted to study Jurisprudence (Fiqh). Only one student felt took Meaning and Explanation. Similarly, Logic and Philosophy could interest only two students. Moreover, 92% students and 79% teachers responded that the current curriculum met their intellectual or mental needs.
The interest shown by Madrassa students in professionally rewarding subjects like Quran/Tafseer and Hadith/Usul-Hadith is analogous to the behaviour depicted by non-madrassa students. In our blog titled An Overview of SSC Part-I Result of Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, we had argued that students are more inclined towards Science subjects as opposed to Humanities subjects. Only 14% of the candidates appearing in FBISE’s SSC-I Annual 2016 exam were Humanities students. Whereas, the rest 86% were Science students.
When asked about extra-curricular activities, 88% students and 68% teachers responded affirmatively. Sports, reading and computer/internet were the top three extra-curricular activities. The graph below shows different extra-curricular activities and the number of students who indulge in those activities.
48% students had political affiliations, 38% had no political affiliations While 14% didn’t response to the question. 78% students used social media. Facebook was the most widely used social media tool. The graph below shows different social media tools and the number of students who use them.
84% of the students were found to be regular readers of newspapers. Mashriq was the most widely read newspaper. Like newspapers readers, high proportion of magazine readers also existed i.e. 74%. Al Haq was the most widely read magazine. Other magazines and their readership is shown below:
The study report put forth following recommendations: