The Ministry of Federal Education will begin paying salaries to seminary teachers who teach contemporary subjects at madrassas, Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said on Monday.

He made the announcement at a presser after a high level meeting between education ministers of all four provinces earlier in the day.

Besides the federal minister, the meeting was attended by Punjab Education Minister Murad Raas, Adviser to KP Chief Minister on Elementary and Secondary Education Ziaullah Bangash, Adviser to Sindh Chief Minister Ijaz Jakhrani, Mohammad Khan Lehri and education ministers from Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The meeting took up various agenda items for discussions and took several key decisions.

At the press conference, Shafqat said it had been decided in principle that all 29 educational boards in the country would announce higher secondary school certificate results by August 15 each year, as this would help students gain ample time to submit applications for admission at various universities.

He added that universities would be bound to complete the admissions’ process by September 15 each year.

The minister said a Directorate General of Religious Education (DGRE) had been set up which would be tasked with registration and oversight of seminaries.

He said there were close to 35,000 seminaries spread across the country and at least 3,000 would be registered in the first year. The minister added that the registration process of all seminaries would be completed in the next four years.

Shafqat said it had been decided that the government would be paying a salary of Rs 17,000 per month and other stipend to teachers in registered seminaries who taught contemporary subjects at madrassas.

The minister said the government would also be introducing a new stream of matriculate education under the head of Matric Tech. The aim of Matric Tech is to impart technical education to students alongside regular science and arts subjects. The minister said these additional skills would make students more employable and make the education system better than it already is. Shafqat said the World Bank would provide $450 million to fund the project.

Commenting on the issue of uniform education, he said the uniform curriculum would initially be introduced across the country at the primary level. “The curriculum will be shared with the provinces and tabled in respective provincial assemblies for approval before it is launched.”

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