THERE are around thirty-five thousand religious seminaries across the country and an estimated three million students mostly belonging to the poor background are enrolled there.
In a country where millions of children are still out of school, these seminaries hence are playing a very significant role in ensuring education to the children by providing them free boarding and schooling.
This, however, does not mean that these seminaries are without problems as these have been used, not all of them, for the negative purposes intentionally or unintentionally.
In the outside world, especially the West, the religious seminaries are now considered dens of promoting extremism and terrorism.
This perception needs to be changed by highlighting also the positive contribution being made by these religious seminaries in the society.
Then simultaneously there is dire need to bring reforms in the religious schools in order to fully exploit their potential in preparing a human resource which is capable enough to compete with the world.
There are some seminaries which are providing both religious and contemporary education to their students, enabling them explore opportunities and talent in different fields.
However, unfortunately, there are still many which are not ready to transform themselves according to the modern day requirements.
By doing so they are not doing any favour to those enrolled with them. In fact the administration of these seminaries should be forthcoming in reviving the old glory of Madrassa which is credited with educating the top Muslim scientists, scholars, philosophers, mathematicians, chemists and astronomers in the medieval times.
Scholars and scientists such as Abu Nasr Al-Farabi, Al-Battani, Ibn Sina, Ibn Battuta, Ibn Rushd and so many others were produced by these seminaries.
We will suggest the government to engage with the seminaries in order to bring much needed reforms in them.
Their curricula should be balanced- a blend of both religious and modern education so that their students could contribute positively in all fields be it in religion or science and technology.
The syllabus should be such which should promote national unity and cohesion instead of stoking differences.
There should also be focus on the training of Madrassa teachers in order to bring a real change in the whole environment of seminaries.