Perceived Role Of A Shi’a-led Institute In Labor Force Participation In Islamabad
Author: Fatima Hasnain

This study employed a qualitative approach and aimed to explore the perceptions of the graduates of a Shi’a-led religious institute Jamia tu Al-Kauthar regarding their relevance to the contemporary labor market. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and the study found that the perceived role of Jamia tu Al-Kauthar in labor force participation was somehow positive in the sense that the graduates were satisfied with the skills and knowledge they gained from it. But since they worked as teachers, they contended that their knowledge and curriculum was not suitable to work in the regular labor market and professions other than religious teaching. Hence, it is necessary to focus on policy and policy implementation to mainstream religious educational institutes, and improve the overall rate of labor force participation of Pakistan. The findings of this study rejected the theories applied as the conceptual framework. The Jamia tu Al-Kauthar was found to be “non-isomorphic” as it took up the necessary qualities to align with its peers, however it also added enhancing features that were not present in other Madaris according to the respondents. Furthermore, the institute exhibited “tight coupling” with the technical efficiency and practical skills, as it was found to deliver practical skills such as computer-operations, online technology, digital skills, spoken-English skills, teaching and research skills, and problem-solving abilities. The institute was mobilized by the need of technical efficiency. Hence, the institute was not found to be compliant with Meyer’s Institutional Theory. Moreover, the respondents of this study were more likely to perceive prejudice than relative deprivation among people belonging to religious groups other than the Shi’a sect. Hence, it was deduced that the respondents of this study did not perceive relative deprivation in terms of wages or social interaction due to their religious identity. However, this study is an indicative study and cannot be generalized. This calls for more primary research over the topic to explore the gaps and recommend policy inclusion. Policy recommendations are majorly for the Government stakeholders controlling the Wafaq ul Madaris, under which the institute is registered. The degree issued by the Wafaq is not acceptable for regular jobs, however their credit hours are still as much as required by HEC. The respondents of the study recommended that the Wafaq resolve the issue with the Government and make their degrees equivalent to MPhil and PhD according to the credit hours covered. Also, the Madrassa Board must allocate quotas for Madrassa students in public sector jobs, and have affiliations with conventional educational institutions to enhance industry linkages. Supervisor:- Dr. Saman Nazir

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Supervisor: Saman Nazir

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