Recently, news in media circling about establishment of imam hatip schools in Pakistan. Turkey and Pakistan have already signed a deal for the establishment of first model school in Islamabad after that more schools in other cities will be established.
But the thing which needs explanation is what actually, Imam Hatip school system’s meaning, origin and purpose -Founded in 1924 in Turkey, after the abolishment of caliphate system under the Ataturk reforms. Imam-Hatip high schools were created as vehicles to control religion by those who helped construct the modern Turkish Republic. All seminaries who were providing religious education at that time replaced by Iman- hatip school system, which are actually a blend of religious and modern world education. As the possibility to receive a religious education was placed into the larger framework of general education, imam-hatip schools became a part of the modern, classic education offered in Turkey and helping in developing a progressive face of turkey under the light of religion –these schools are actually a balance of modern education and religious one with ratio of 60% to 40 % respectively.
The science subjects including biology, mathematics and physics etc are in core curriculum of syllabus. In turkey more than 15 million students are studying in Imam- Hatip Schools, especially in rural areas the schools are more popular. With these schools in turkey, the state has a complete on authority and control on religious education with the appointment of paid religious teachers, described religious curriculum and an eye of the overall system to counter any misleading or use of religion for spreading personal ideas.
As far the quest of these schools and their introduction in Pakistan is concerned, no doubt and definitely they should be tried, because there is no concept of modern world education in our religious seminaries and actually the main issue is the religious content which has been taught there, on which Government has no control. These kinds of schools can be a replacement of seminaries in rural areas which have no modern science related aspect in their teaching and because of religious extremism in Pakistan, these kind of initiative to balance religious and modern education should be taken into account.
With this experiment, the state will be able to change the curriculum of seminaries running in the remote areas which are being used as a nursery for extremist/terrorist organization – complete sudden abolishment of seminaries with terrorism charges will be difficult for Government because of pressure from some sectors of society but changed curriculum in light of imam hatip school system will be a more secure and viable option to maintain writ in the religious seminaries.
Recently the negotiations have been complete, by a visit of Turkish delegation and their meeting with religious affairs Minister Sardar Muhammad Yousuf, for establishment of first school. Imam-Hatip schools are also working in some European countries but on a very low scale to present a modern Islamic prospective as religion. Some Pakistani students are already studying in Iman –Hatip schools in Turkey.