Tuesday April 23, 2024

‘Govt to register all seminaries in four years’

By Jamila Achakzai
December 31, 2019

ISLAMABAD: As part of seminary reforms, the federal government has planned the registration of the country's all religious schools by the end of its five-year constitutional term in 2023.

“We’ve around 35,000 seminaries across the country, which all will be registered in the next four years as part of our efforts to bring them into the mainstream. Our registration exercise will target 2,000-3,000 religious schools in the first year and the rest in the next three years,” he told the 15th Inter-Provincial Education Ministers Conference at the Federal Education and Professional Training Ministry here on Monday.

The event was attended by provincial education ministers and relevant officials. Shafqat Mehmood said his ministry had established a directorate general and 16 countrywide offices for seminary registration and the number of offices would be increased in the days ahead.

He said every seminary would appoint two teachers of own choice to impart contemporary formal education to students with the federal government paying each of them Rs 17,000 stipend a month.

The minister said the federal government would help seminaries open bank accounts besides resolving the issues regarding visa for foreigners interested in enrolling there. He said the mainstreaming of seminary was meant to ensure their contribution of seminaries in the national development.

Shafqat Mehmood said the centre would extend all-out support and cooperation to the provinces for strengthening education system across the country. He said the development of a uniform curriculum for nationwide introduction was part of efforts to further the cause of education. “We (centre) are not working on national curriculum in isolation. Instead, we’re taking everyone (provinces) along. The National Curriculum Council has representation of all provinces and whatever decisions it comes up with will be adopted by provincial assemblies and governments by themselves without our interference,” he said.

The minister said the federal government was neither opposed to the provincial autonomy guaranteed by 18th Constitutional Amendment nor would it interfere with it.

“Education will continue to be a provincial subject as guaranteed in the 18th Constitutional Amendment. We (centre) and provinces are jointly working on education reforms, especially uniform curriculum, so decisions and moves in that respect will be acceptable to all,” he said.

The minister said the uniform national curriculum, an indication of national spirit, would bring about an education system, which met the country’s current and future needs. He said a uniform academic calendar had been put in place across the country, while all education boards had been asked to announce the results of intermediate exams by August 15, while the universities had been bound by their regulator, HEC, to offer admissions only after September 15.

Shafqat Mehmood said after passing eighth grade exam, the schoolchildren used to choose between arts and sciences subjects for matriculation but they’d been provided with another option i.e. Matric Tech for attaining technical and vocational education to enable those, who dropped out after matriculation for one reason or the other, to earn livelihood after passing 10th grade.

“Under an initiative of our ministry, 0.2 million children are being provided with technical education. We’re also going to launch a comprehensive programme with the $450 million assistance of the World Bank to improve the quality of education in schools,” he said.

The minister said the centre had developed a comprehensive programme to enrol the out-of-school children and improve educational standards in provinces.