June 4, 2009
On May 3, the New York Times published a lengthy description of Pakistan's education system. The article, like so many before it, rehearsed a well-known narrative in which government schools are failing while madrasas are multiplying, providing a modicum of education for Pakistan's poorest children. The story coincided with a debate in the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee over a new aid package for Pakistan. The proposed legislation, among other initiatives, focuses upon eliminating madrasas with ties to terrorism and reforming the public school system, riven with teacher absenteeism and out-of-date pedagogy. Numerous charitable organizations and NGOs have also embraced this dual focus. Unfortunately, this well-intentioned approach risks failure.
Andrabi, Tahir, Jishnu Das, C. Christine Fair, and Asim Ijaz Khwaja. "The Madrasa Myth." Foreign Policy. June 4, 2009.