PESHAWAR: In a major policy shift meant to mainstream them, the PTI government has placed seminaries in the province under the supervision of the elementary and secondary education department.
Now, for the first time in the history, the education department will handle the registration, curriculum, examination, monitoring and other allied activities of seminaries, sources told Dawn.
Currently, 3,028 seminaries are functioning in the province.
The establishment department amended the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Rules of Business a few days ago to give the education department the role of supervising seminaries.
Dept to handle registration, curriculum, exam, monitoring affairs
The relevant official documents show the amendment was made in Schedule-II, under the heading ‘Elementary and Secondary Department’.
After Serial No 11, a new entry, ‘registration, curriculum, examination, monitoring and other allied activities of Deeni Madaris’ shall be incorporated.
In a letter separately sent to all quarters concerned, the establishment department has said, “in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 139 of the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the Government of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is pleased to direct that in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Rules of Business 1985, the amendments shall be incorporated.”
The religious scholars of different schools of thoughts and the officials of the education department have been in contact for the last one month discussing different aspects of the seminaries being placed under the education department.
Initially, it was believed that only the task of registering seminaries would be assigned to the education department.
Until now, the industries department was responsible for the seminary registration and its renewal, a senior official told Dawn.
He said the industries department had nothing to do about the examination, curriculum and monitoring of seminaries.
Asked about the newly assigned responsibilities of the seminaries, a senior official of the education department told Dawn that initially, the education department would work on the registration of seminaries.
Regarding the curriculum, examination and monitoring of seminaries, he said it was a gigantic task to complete with the consultation of the representatives of seminaries.
When contacted, secretary general of Wifaqul Madaris Al Arabia KP chapter Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madani expressed ignorance about the development and declined to comment on it saying he was not informed by the provincial government about it.
The provincial government has initiated the process of placing seminaries under the education department around two months ago on the directives of the interior ministry.
The decision of placing seminaries under the education department was taken by the interior ministry with the consultation of all provinces to bring them to the mainstream.
In October last year, the intermediate and secondary education boards had initiated the registration of seminaries on the directives of the education department.
For the registration of seminaries, the education department had prepared an 11-page registration proforma and was provided to the boards for onward distribution among seminaries.
However, the process came to a halt when religious scholars in different meetings informed the education department that educational boards could only issue certificates up to intermediate level, while their degrees were equivalent to the bachelor and master level degrees of the universities.
Instead, the religious scholars had demanded of the education department to establish a separate cell in the secretariat of the education department for dealing with the affairs of seminaries.
Published in Dawn, January 10th, 2018