islamabad - Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan, justifying the allocation of funds for a seminary in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said that seminaries should also be brought into national mainstream to eliminate the discrimination in education system.

PTI chief said this while addressing a conference held here on Khyber Pakthunkhwa Education Reforms Program, organised by KP government and foreign partners.

The conference was organised to present the report of accomplishments and challenges KP government faced while bringing reforms in elementary and secondary education.

In mid of previous year, KP government had provided a grant of Rs 300 million to Darul Uloom Haqqania seminary, which had initiated a heated debate in country.

PTI government had claimed that the grant was provided for the rehabilitation of the seminary and to bring the religious education into mainstream.

PTI chief addressing to the conference said that elimination of discrimination in education system is essential to build a nation.

“To eliminate three different kinds of education system running in the country, seminaries must be also added into mainstream,” said PTI chief.

He said allocation of funds for a seminary in KP had spur hue and cry in the entire country while the amount was given for teachers training.

“There are 2.2 million children registered in the seminaries who are part of this society,” said Imran Khan.

He stressed on providing training to seminaries’ teachers to bring change in education, which will help students getting religious education to merge with the society.

Vowing to make KP as an exemplary province in education sector, the PTI chief announced to allocate Rs 139 billion in next fiscal year.

He also said that 2.2 million children are enrolled in seminaries, 0.8 million are associated with English education system while 30 million are registered in government sector schools.

“Before PTI came in power, education budget of the province was Rs 61 billion, which will be increased up to Rs 139 billion to facilitate maximum children with education,” he said.

PTI chairman criticizing the policies of previous provincial government said that political hiring had badly affected the education system in past.

He said in past personal servants of legislatures were hired as teacher on special quota.

“KP government ensuring the policy of merit recruited 40,000 teachers in schools,” said PTI chief.

Appreciating KP government’s performance in brining reforms at primary level education in the province, PTI chief stated that provincial government has special focus on the girls’ education.

“70 per cent new schools in province are being built for girls,” said Imran Khan.

Expressing concerns on 20 million children out of schools, he declared the corruption in as major cause behind this huge number.

“Education instead of taking as option in the country should be declared compulsory for every child,” he said.

On this occasion, KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak said that KP government increasing education budget is aligned to achieve the targets set in the KP Education Sector Plan 2015-20.

The plan outlines systematic steps to implement Article 25A of the constitution, which mandates the state to provide free and compulsory education to all children between the age of five and 16.

“We are firmly committed to providing the money required to finance the implementation of the education sector plan,” he said.

He said KP government has set a high bar for other provinces by taking its upcoming fiscal year’s education budget to Rs139 billion which reflects an increase of 128 per cent since the PTI assumed government in 2013.

KP Education Minister Atif Khan said that the province, in fact, is already spending 23 per cent on education.

“For boosting girls’ enrolment and their retention in schools, government is providing stipends to all girls enrolled at secondary level (Grade 6 to 10) across the province,” He said.

According to KP education minister, a total of 443,320 female students benefitted from the girls’ stipend scheme which had an allocation of Rs 1.36 billion last year.

Adding that 455,364 more girls will benefit from the scheme this year for which the provincial government had allocated Rs 1.34 billion. Likewise, the government’s priority for girls’ education is evident from 1,400 girl-specific community schools.

”These schools, located in a community-donated room and managed by a local teacher, serve out-of-school girls with limited access to educational opportunities,” said the education minister.

UK’s Department for International Deputy Head of the Development (DFID), Judith Herbertson, Acting Australian High Commissioner, Jurek Juszczyk and Head of Cooperation at European Union to Pakistan Bernard François also attended the conference.