Islamabad - The new education policy would introduce contemporary subjects including English, Natural Sciences and Information Technology in the curriculum of Deeni Madaris (seminaries), which would be jointly decided by government and seminaries, an official said on Tuesday.

The Federal Ministry of Education and Professional Training is drafting a new education policy and the provincial ministers of education in last meeting of Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) has approved the policy few months ago in Peshawar.

The under-preparation policy is in its final phase and would likely be presented for discussion in the month of October for finalising it.

The reformed education policy also encircled the seminaries and worked on the conceptual framework of the system, the official told The Nation. Contemporary subjects will also include Pakistan Studies and Applied Sciences, which will be introduced in different levels, while the curriculum of Dars-e-Nizami at Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC) level removed from the scheme will be restored, said the official.

Official informed The Nation that government would also facilitate seminaries in financial matters including provision of salaries for qualified teachers.

Formal education system in selected seminaries will continue without interference in their autonomy, the new policy stated.

“The other important measure in the new policy includes the facilitation of foreign students in the Pakistani Madaris,” said the official.

In new policy provision, the foreign students will be encouraged and facilitated and the No Objection Certificate (NOC) procedure will be simplified.

Mentioning here, after 9/11 incident, then government had stern policy regarding foreign students enrolment in Pakistani Deeni Madaris, linking it with the measures to control anti-state activities.

The official said that the new and accurate database for seminaries would also be created and updated regularly as part of Education Management Information system.

In policy for seminaries, the international models including Turkey, Egypt and Indonesia will be established in phases at district levels.

The official also said that an authority at national level with offices at provincial and area levels comprising representatives from government, private sector, seminaries and other stakeholders would be constituted with an objective to identify, evaluate and resolve countrywide matters of seminaries especially pertaining to Quranic education and Islamic education with special focus on character building.

The other feature in new policy, government and Ittehad Tanzeemat-e-Madaris Pakistan will settle the issues of equivalence and accreditation of seminaries degrees, certificate at all levels and registration of seminaries and affiliation with examination boards and universities.    

The seminaries implementing the rules under Article 25-A of the constitution will be facilitated by the government in providing free textbooks also.

The government will also support the income generating skill education for students enrolled in the seminaries.

The official told The Nation that government met multiple challenges in forms of non-availability of authentic data of Madaris, while lack of proper implementation of Madrasa Reform Project resulted in unimpressive achievement less than 6 per cent.

The official said that due to difficulties in obtaining NOC, foreign students had turned to other countries for admission.

Official said that government will try to allocate sufficient budget for improvement in the seminaries and their education system.

The government through new policy will try to bridge the gap between religious education and formal education system to integrate them for strengthening coordination among seminaries, government and private institution, said official.