Madrasas and other faith-based schools in Asia may undo some of the positive effects of increased access to education on gender equality and maintain patriarchal norms and attitudes in society, according to a report published by UNESCO’s Global Education Monitor.
There are implications for The report, entitled “Deepening the Debate on Backwardness,” which says that non-state schools in Asia have increased access to girls’ education but at a cost. Madrassa graduates have a less favourable attitude towards higher education for girls and working mothers, consider raising children an important responsibility of wives, and believe that the maximum number of children depends on God and that adults Identify priorities for families.
Madrasas based schools
First, the UNESCO report states that in many cases there may be a lack of gender equality in the madrasa curriculum. Studies in Muslim-majority countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have found that the emphasis is on gender-based work in terms of ancient ideas.
Second, according to UNESCO, gender-based restrictions on the exchange of social ideas can create negative perceptions in the minds of students. Experts believe that this sows the seeds of negative perceptions about women’s higher education and working mothers.
The UNESCO report cites the attitude of teachers as the reason for the negative attitude. According to the report, the training needed to address gender inequality may not be available among madrassa teachers. So they become negative ‘role models’.
Fourth, the UNESCO report states that madrassa students do not have such closeness to modern thinking ‘role models’. The attitude of the patriarchal society (gender inequality) does not change the mentality of the students. On the contrary, the traditional patriarchal idea was formed in their minds.
Lack of training to address gender issues
According to the report, teachers may lack the training to address gender issues and may act as negative role models, for example by affecting students’ attitudes towards fertility. “Fourth, more traditional institutions can have constrained environments with limited exposure to progressive models and media. Reproducing traditional gender norms discourages participation in higher education and employment” it said.
“Fourth, more traditional institutions can have constrained environments with limited exposure to progressive models and media. Reproducing traditional gender norms discourages participation in higher education and employment. faith has implications for the persistence of patriarchal norms and attitudes in society,” it said.
“While madrassas generally follow a curriculum that promotes a religious lifestyle, the situation is far from uniform both within and between countries. Some countries integrate madrasas with the government curriculum, while others adhere to traditional models,” it said.
Attitudes towards women
According to UNESCO experts, a new analysis for the report looked at the evidence linking faith-based schools, especially the non-state variety, to progress or stagnation of gender equality in their societies.
The UNESCO report, comparisons between girls’ secondary schools and madrasahs have shown that women with higher education and working mothers are more likely to have a negative attitude towards those who graduate from madrasahs. Those who have graduated from madrassas think that raising children is the main responsibility of wives. They believe that the number of children will be determined. At the same time, there are indications of priority towards large families.
The report stated: “A detailed analysis of madrassa students found that their attitudes toward women were relatively less positive than those in secular schools.” Especially in the case of unrecognized madrasahs. It has also been found that the families of madrasa teachers are quite large.
However, the UNESCO report cautions against exaggerating the potential negative impact of such religious schools as madrasahs. According to the report, it is extremely difficult to separate social beliefs and socioeconomic background from the influence of religious education centers such as madrasas in terms of gender inequality. The enrollment of students in madrasahs has seen a positive change in the religious beliefs of the family.
“Their unique cultural and institutional histories, which often blur the lines between state and non-state institutions, further complicate the analysis. The differences between them may imply the school of thought followed, the emphasis on Islamic scriptures and sciences, the presence of daily rituals, accommodation arrangements, and attachment to local mosques. These important differences mean that experiences are country- and even school-specific,” the report states.
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