Pakistan recieves a lot of media attention in regard to its hidden madrassas all over the country. Appearrently the West believes that these centers of ‘fundementalism’ are major hinderences for their war on terror. Fox News and CNN have consistenly reported stories of how Pakistan’s rural poor, for one reason or the other, are ‘forced’ into madrassas by prominent extremists and taliban who threaten them openly. Furthermore, majority of the enrols are children between the ages of 5-15 years. These reports also suggest such madrassas spawn terrorists and have become a network of base camps for extremists in the region.
Now I know for a fact that such findings tend to be fabricated by the US goverment or certain power groups so that they can carry out whatever foriegn policy agendas they have. Madrassas have been in Pakistan for a lot more time than terrorists have and in some cases are the only sources of education that regional populations can recieve due to their seclusion. Even though students here only devote time to learning religion, at least they gain the ability to read and write. Furthermore, madrassas offer poverty striken children 3 meals a day, a place to sleep and some hope in life. To many hopeless in this country, these schools have become a need. I can agree to the fact that some madrassas may be extremist, but calling the whole lot of them bad because of one or two examples is pushing it.
But nevertheless the Us Goverment believes (and is worried) that madrassas have become major education sources for Pakistani children and that their enrollement is high. Luckily international bodies like the World Bank have confirmed through numerous studies that enrollment in Pakistani madrassas is relatively low, with less than 1 percent of all students enrolled in a school attending madrassas. There are as much as 100 times as many children in public schools as there are in madrassas and almost 40 times as many children in private schools as there are in madrassas. For the average Pakistani household, the choice of going to a madrassa is simply not a statistically significant option. Even in areas which surround Afghanistan, which are considered to be hotbeds of madrassa activity, madrassa enrollment is actually less than 7.5 percent. Even though madrassas are doing a lot of social welfare, because they’ve become volitile hot topics for many, this is a blessing in disguse.