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Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood speaks at the press conference at PID Media Centre on Thursday. — APP
Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood speaks at the press conference at PID Media Centre on Thursday. — APP

ISLAMABAD: Seminary students will be taught compulsory contemporary subjects and will appear in annual Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (FBISE) examinations to obtain matriculation and intermediate certificates, the minister for federal education announced on Thursday.

Addressing a press conference, Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood said that the ministry and the heads of religious boards have agreed in principle to teach compulsory contemporary subjects at seminaries.

He said the boards will only hold exams for religious subjects, and the FBISE will hold exams for compulsory subjects. After obtaining the results of religious subjects from the religious boards, the FBISE will issue a consolidated result for matriculation and intermediate that will be acceptable at all forums.

Ministry aiming to register all seminaries in Pakistan within six months

Mr Mehmood said the FBISE certificates would allow seminary students to excel. Depending on their results, he said, they would be able to join the army, enrol in medical colleges or universities, or become engineers.

He said that efforts will be made for the FBISE to start holding exams for seminary students in the upcoming academic year.

A separate wing will also be set up at the FBISE to facilitate seminaries, he said, and it has been decided that the ministry will register all the seminaries around the country under pre-decided conditions.

“We are not going to take over madaris, we will not interfere in their autonomy, our role will be just a facilitator,” he said, adding that seminaries will be affiliated with the ministry but will continue to work as independent organisations.

He said: “We are going to set up 12 regional centres across the country to facilitate the madaris.”

These centres will help seminaries open bank accounts, secure visas for international students, provide technical and vocational education and so on. He added that all seminaries will have bank accounts, which means their funding will be documented.

The minister hoped that the ministry would finish registering seminaries in six months.

To a question, he said there are more than 30,000 seminaries that are affiliated with religious boards, in addition to which “Tahirul Qadri sahib and pir sahib of Bhera Sharif are also running a number of madaris and religious institutes.”

He also praised the chief of army staff and the prime minister for meeting with religious scholars to mainstream seminaries.

He said Wednesday’s meeting, where these decisions were made with consensus, was attended by scholars of the Ittehad Tanzeemat-i-Madaris, including Mufti Taqi Usmani of the Wafaqul Madaris Al Arabia, Mufti Muneebur Rehman of the Tanzeemul Madaris Ahle Sunnat Pakistan, Maulana Hanif Jalandhari of Wafaqul Madaris Al Arabia, Maulana Mohammad Yasin Zafar of the Wafaqul Madaris Al-Salfia,Dr Attaur Rehman of the Rabtaul Madarasul Islamia, Maulana Mohammad Afzal Haidri of the Wafaqul Madaris Al Shia Pakistan, Maulana Abdul Malik of the Rabtaul Madarasul Islamia and Sahibzada Mohammad Abdul Mustafa Hazarvi of Tanzeemul Madaris Ahle Sunnat.

Published in Dawn, July 19th, 2019