Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

AAN in the Media

Can madrassas help developing countries?

2 min

al-Jazeera, 13 March 2014

Discussing the role of religious schools, AAN's Borhan Osman and AAN author Claudio Franco are quoted on the situation in Afghanistan:

Borhan Osman, of the Afghanistan Analysts Network, said there was a dichotomy between "modern" and more traditional schools that needed to be addressed. "There is a serious need for reforming the madrassa education system. Turning a blind eye to the many problems in the religious education will only deepen the gap between the systems. The influence of religion or religious groups on education is now not that strong as during the Taliban era or the Mujahideen, but religion is still heavily present in the Afghan educational landscape."

He added that both modern schools and madrassas have failings. "Modern schools are fairly good in equipping children with the basic skills needed for a job or business, although they are far from sufficient. Religious schools fare much worse… With more awareness now, I think poor families increasingly prefer to send their children to modern schools instead of madrassas since they seek a better chance of jobs for their children."

Claudio Franco, the [co-]author of [AAN’s] The Ongoing Battle for Education; Uprisings, Negotiations and Taleban Tactics, said ethnic Pashtun parts of Afghanistan tend to be especially conservative when it comes to education.

"[In the Pashtun belt in particular] there have been attempts by the Taliban to curtail or pre-empt girls'education, and these attempts have been largely successful. The local populace is very often sympathetic towards this kind of stance, simply because of an instinctive, well-rooted conservatism," he said. "As a consequence, there have been attacks on girls travelling to and from school, or on teachers and/or administrators who did not comply with this ban."

Franco said that objections to female education were being used as a means of questioning the entire idea of Western education. "A compromise between a modern education and the insurgents' stances is the only viable option to provide Afghanistan with an effective education system. Aiming for a Westernised system would probably be a waste of time," he said.



Education Islam madrassa Religion