Reforming Pakistan’s Educational System: The Challenge of the Madrassas

Robert Looney *)

*) Penulis adalah lulusan Program Doktoral Angkatan Laut Amerika Serikat (Naval Postgraduate School), di Monterey, Califomia. Ia menjadi peneliti serta analis di Angkatan Laut Amerika Serikat (Navy), terutama tentang
seluk-beluk terorisme di Asia. Alamat korespondensi adalah: Dr Robert Looney, Professor, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA 93943, E-mail: relooney@nps.navy.mil

Abstract:

Dalam artikel ini, penulis menyelidiki riwayat dan unjuk kerja sistem sekolah “Madrasah” di Pakistan. Ia memandang bahwa Madrasah telah menjadi salah satu sumber fundamentalisme Islam di negeri itu, dan sumber potensial
perekrutan pejuang Islam militan yang ditakuti oleh Barat.

Kata Kunci: Pakistan, pendidikan, sekolah madrasah, fundamentalisme Islam, Wahabiisme, Jihad.

Introduction
The field of development economics has, over the years, produced a number of general principles to guide countries in their efforts at improving the lot of the average citizen. Many of these take the form of a vicious cycle, with perhaps the most pervasive one being that poverty causes illiteracy and illiteracy causes poverty. No country today better exemplifies this cycle than Pakistan. In fact, Pakistan remains a country where most education plans and policies have failed to make any significant contribution to
increase literacy rates, improve employment opportunities, and enhance quality of life for the poor.1 In turn, the country’s poverty and underdevelopment has made it difficult to mobilize the funds needed to
significantly upgrade the nation’s educational system.

As a result, poverty is an increasing problem for the country. A recent World Bank Report2 notes that while the educated and well-off urban populations in Pakistan have standards of living similar to their counterparts in other countries of like income range, the urban poor and most of the rural population are being left behind. While poverty has always been a major problem facing the country, its increase is a recent phenomenon. More troubling, the incidence of poverty may even be increasing – rates which had fallen substantially in the 1980s and early 1990s started to rise again towards the end of the decade. Currently around 33 percent of the country’s population can be classified as poor. More
importantly, differences in per capita income across regions have persisted or widened.

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