Monthly Archives: April 1998

A man of sense and sensibility



By Zubeida Mustafa

THERE appears to be more intolerance in Islam because the Muslim world is in the throes of change

Dressed in his white khaddar kurta and pyjamas, sporting a graying stubble for a beard, Mr Asghar Ali Engineer could be any of the countless Bohris that one comes across in Karachi. But behind his simple and unassuming exterior is a sturdy and sharp mind that is fully responsive to the political, social and economic problems faced by the Muslims in India. During his recent visit to Karachi, Mr. Engineer spent a whole forenoon with Dawn taking about a wide range of Issues.

He came across as an enlightened, rational and level-headed scholar whose interpretation of Islam offers hope of some sanity emerging from the bleak scenario that makes the Muslim world today. At a time when the lines between the liberal/secular and the orthodox camps have been sharply drawn, a meeting with Asghar Ali Engineer was most reassuring. He knows the ideology but speaks the language of the secularists. A well-known social scientist (that is how he described himself) from India, Mr Engineer has founded two research institutions in Bombay which he heads. One is the Institute of Islamic Studies which was set up in 1982 and the other is the more recently-established Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (1993). Continue reading A man of sense and sensibility

New policy lacks credibility

By Zubeida Musta

ONE has to be either a diehard optimist or incredibly simplistic to believe that the education policy announced on March 27 will bring about a moral and social transformation in Pakistan through educational reforms. The major problem in the policy is that of credibility. The government has so far done nothing to establish its bonafides in the promotion of education. There has been a lot of loud talk about the need to enhance the literacy rate and universalize primary education. But is there anything new about that? All the six education policies which have been announced since 1947 have listed these as their basic goals. Yet we have the dubious distinction of being the last but one most illiterate country in South Asia with the lowest primary school enrolment ration in the region. How can one be certain that the present government’s performance will be any different?

Continue reading New policy lacks credibility

Can it be implemented?

By Zubeida Mustafa

IT is a strange coincidence that two important documents pertaining to education were released in Pakistan in March 1998 within a span of a few days. One was the report titled Human Development in South Asia 1998: The Education Challenge prepared by Dr Mahbubul Haq and Khadija Haq and published by the Human Development Centre, Islamabad, and the Oxford University Press (Pakistan). The other was the Pakistan government’s education policy prepared by the Federal Ministry of Education.

Continue reading Can it be implemented?