Islamabad - The Pakistan Madrassa Education Board (PMEB) in its academic council meeting held after 14 years has decided to include computer, English language and vocational courses in the curriculum of various seminaries.

The board members also decided to include courses of moderate writers regarding inter-faith harmony in the syllabus taught to seminary students.

The academic council of the board works under the ministry of religious affairs and interfaith harmony.

A two-member committee was also formed to propose optional subjects for middle level students that can be acceptable for all school of thoughts. The committee will present its suggestions to the chairman within two weeks. It was also decided to chalk out a plan for the training of teachers to teach new subjects.

The board that was virtually non-functional has started giving affiliation to various privately-run religious seminaries and so far about 650 seminaries have applied for the accreditation, said Chairman PMEB Dr Amir Taseen.

The objective is to regulate the seminaries working independently and bring them into mainstream under the National Action Plan, he said.

In the first step, the chairman said the seminaries not associated with any board have been asked to get themselves registered voluntarily. Later, all the seminaries including those affiliated with the Ittehad-e-Tanzimat Madaris-e-Deeniya (ITMD) would be affiliated with one national body - Islamic Education Commission.

Majority of the seminaries are affiliated with five boards of different schools of thought that work under ITMD, a collation of all five boards, he said. But thousands of seminaries are not affiliated with any of these boards and work independently.

The PMEB plans to get these seminaries affiliated with the state-run board, helping them use the government’s updated syllabus, take their examinations and offer vocational training and a good education keeping up with today’s requirements, he said.