|Theme of the Conference
The religious education in Pakistan claims much important position in the overall educational system of the country. Total number of the students enrolled in religious education in Universities and traditional religious Madrasas is much higher than the number of students enrolled in any other discipline. The religious education in Pakistan is basically divided into two main streams. One stream comprises Dīnī Madrasas which are controlled by independent Madrasa Boards that have been established by various religious schools of thought in the country. The other stream pertains to colleges, universities and other institutions that are patterned along the modern western educational system. This stream can be further subdivided into two types: public institutions and private institutions. In spite of many commonalities, the curricula, institutional setups, objectives, and outcomes of these three types of institutions are quite different, apparently irreconcilably, from each other.
The graduates of these different streams turn out to have developed quite different levels of competence, modes of articulation, and basic cultural orientation. Though there are certain possibilities for the graduates of Dīnī Madrasas to get enrolled in the mainstream educational institutions at higher levels of studies, there is hardly any possibility for the graduates of the modern institutions to get integrated into the traditional madrasa education system.
Concerns have been expressed by various scholarly and activist circles that these different streams of religious education in the country need to be unified for a harmonious society. Resultantly, a heated debate is taking place in the Pakistani society on the nature of religious educations, its objectives, and possibilities of integration of the two streams. The discourse on religious education has culminated in various voices for reform and counter reform campaigns. The present conference is designed to contribute to this debate in a constructive and professional manner, by bringing together scholars, experts, and those in control of the institutions of religious educating, at one forum.