When the Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan says that the prevalence of multiple education systems in the country is one of the main reasons of the divide in the nation, he is not wrong. Unfortunately, the education systems operating in the country are class-based systems. While many ignore religious madrassas and do not think of the students in these schools, credit goes to Imran Khan that despite all the hue and cry against his position on reforms, he is adamant to create equal opportunities in the job market for the graduates from these schools.

Historically, the religious schools are well known for opposing any innovation or change in the society. This behaviour makes the students of these seminaries hardliners. In good faith, this editorial believes that Imran will take the members of the delegation that he met a day ago on board on introducing modern liberal and scientific subjects in these seminaries.

Imran’s meeting with the delegation of Madrassah boards does not shed light on Imran’s plan of mainstreaming religious schools. What Imran Khan needs to keep in mind is the nature of the task he is taking up. In the past too, whenever the government had decided to take steps to mainstream the religious schools, the government had to face opposition from the seminary boards.

Imran may not see as hard opposition as the previous regimes faced for Imran, instead of bringing changes from above, is consulting them on the issue. However, the real hurdles will surface when the plan of action is presented before these schools. Mainstreaming does not mean simple fostering acceptability. The process requires comprehensive reforms in preaching methods and syllabus so that seminary graduates can compete in the job market.

Imran’s resolve of mainstreaming religious institutions should bring structural and policy changes in their operations. In the past, Imran’s idea of mainstreaming was not bringing changes in the operations of religious schools. Instead, KP government under Imran’s approval just allocated considerable sums to Sami-ul-Haq’s school. Merely, transferring money without state oversight will not generate the results that Imran’s government desires.

The crucial intervention that is required of the state is to bring changes to the curriculum of these schools. The syllabus in almost all traditional madrassas conforms to the basic structure and scholarly standard of Dars-e-Nizami. If not all, most of the texts taught in these schools are centuries old. Unless the syllabus of the schools does not undergo a radical transformation, Imran’s dream of opening the job market to the students of religious schools will not come true.