New Delhi: In a bid to clear the negativeness against the madrasas in India, the Narendra Modi government initiated a move to introduce another language in the Islamic education institutions.
The government announced a tie-up with four madrassas in Bihar to provide skill training to over 1200 Muslim students. In Bengaluru, a group of 11 Muslim organizations has come together under the banner of ISLAMIC EDUCATION BOARD of India to generate a positive feeling about the institutions.
The board has decided to introduce a syllabus based on science along with the regular languages to ensure that the students studying here are no less than the others studying in normal schools. A move is underway to rename these madrassas to Islamic Schools.
It might be mentioned that a fraction of government believes that these madrassas are “breeding grounds” for radicalization. However, some opined that introduction of subjects like computer education and mathematics would provide fruitful results.
A madrasa is not a school for teaching, these are places where the students learn the Quran since their childhood and go on to study only Islam. There are around 40,000 madrassas spread across the country, out of which some are state funded and other are funded independently.
In recent years, according to the surveys conducted, it revealed that the students studying in madrasas are more prone to be a part of the riot or enroll in a terrorist group.
Right from a young age, the mental set up of these children are channelised to read only Islamic books. At such an environment they are bound to be radicalized and inclined towards a certain mindset.
Provision for admission of non-Muslim students in madrasas would also help in improving the situation and would help in bringing the institutions at par with other regular schools.(Inputs from agencies)
The government increased the spending on the Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madrasas (SPQEM), launched in 2009-10, from Rs 46 crore to Rs 294 crore in 2015-2016
UP madrasas received maximum funds
Madrasa students are predominantly Muslims, who reported the largest increase in literacy
NEW DELHI: According to the data released by Minister for Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar in the Lok Sabha, the union government has spent over Rs 1,000 crore over seven years to modernize madrasas or Islamic educational institutions.
The government increased the spending on the Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madrasas (SPQEM), launched in 2009-10, from Rs 46 crore to Rs 294 crore – more than a five-fold increase. Spending almost tripled in one year — 2015-16 — to Rs 294 crore from Rs 108 crore in the previous year.
“Under the scheme, financial assistance is provided to encourage traditional institutions like madrasas and maktqabs to introduce modern education in subjects such as science, mathematics, social studies, Hindi and English in their curriculum through support for teachers, books, teaching learning materials and computer labs,” the minister said.
Over 48,000 madrasas in Uttar Pradesh (UP) received financial assistance during the last seven years — the highest amongst all states — followed by Madhya Pradesh and Kerala.
While UP saw an increase of 62 per cent in the number of madrasas supported in 2015-16 over the previous year (from 9,217 to 14,974), Bihar witnessed a jump of 13 times (from 80 to 1,127).
Madrasa students are predominantly Muslims, who reported the largest increase in literacy — 9.4 percentage points, from 59.1 per cent in 2001 to 68.5 per cent in 2011 — among India’s minorities, IndiaSpend reported on July 26, 2016.
Despite almost trebling in the decade ending 2010 — from 5.2 per cent to 13.8 per cent — the rate of Muslim enrollment in higher education trailed the national figure of 23.6 per cent, other backward classes (22.1 per cent) and scheduled castes (18.5 per cent), IndiaSpend reported on July 22, 2016.
“Since 1993, there has been a madrasa modernization policy, primarily designed for azad madrasas. The idea was to convince them to teach modern subjects in lieu of state grants for books and additional teachers,” wrote Arshad Alam, an assistant professor at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, in The Indian Express on July 25, 2015.
“But the policy treated madrasas as homogeneous, so grants were also cornered by state-funded madrasas,” wrote Alam. “Also, a majority of the grants to azad madrasas have been utilized to hire part-time untrained teachers, which defeats the purpose of introducing quality education in these institutions. To top it all, madrasas affiliated to Deobandis and Ahl-e-Hadis completely refused to take part in this initiative.”(IANS)
Madrasas and other institutions that do not teach subjects like Math and Science will not be recognized as formal schools, according to the latest decision taken by Maharashtra government. Further, they will not receive state funding and the students in them will be marked as “out of school”. Hence, around 1.5 lakh students enrolled in 1889 registered Madrasas will stand to be marked as being “out of school”.
Though the Minister of State for Minority Affairs, Mr. Kamble has clarified that the measure is aimed to make sure that such students can be included into mainstream, it has been heavily criticized by Muslim leaders and opposition parties. Kamal Farooqui of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board has been quoted as saying- “It is ill-designed and ill-timed, I don’t know why they are doing it.”
But what is being ignored by all the critics of the decision is the fact that without imparting education in crucial subjects like Math, Science, Social Studies, Computers, and English, no modernization is possible.
What are Madrasas?
Madrasas are centres of Islamic learning. Although some Madrasas teach secular subjects like logic, language (Arabic through the medium of Urdu), Islamic history and geography, in general, they have a religion-based curriculum focusing on the Quran and other Islamic texts.
They do not train students in modern science, technology and value systems. The major difference between Madrasas and regular schools is that the education imparted in Madrasas are not enough to qualify the students for employment in modern-day offices.
In 2013, Maharashtra government had launched Dr. Zakir Hussain Madrasa Modernization Scheme, under which the government will fund various activities like building libraries, hostels etc. of those Madrasas that would enroll with the scheme.
In return, these Madrasas were asked to teach Math, Science, Languages and Social Sciences. But, only 556 Madrasas availed this scheme in 2014-15. Further, the religious clerics raise the issue of government interference, every-time there is an attempt at introducing Madrasa modernization schemes be it in the states or at the centre. This clearly depicts the reluctance of Madrasas to modernize themselves and mainstream their students.
Why is modernization necessary?
Madrasas in India originated during Delhi Sultanate. It was primarily a medium to equip the youth for administrative services of the Sultanate. Since the cessation of Muslim rule in India, graduates from Madrasas largely remain unemployed except for those few who continue studies in departments of Islamic studies, Arabic or Urdu in some of the modern Indian universities. Many of the Madrasa students find it difficult to get into higher education because of the lack of education in Math and Science. This directly contributes towards poverty prevalent among various Muslim communities.
In his report regarding introduction of modern education in Madrasas, Justice M.S.A.Siddiqui notes- “Most of the Madarsas are averse to the introduction of modern education. Some of the books taught in this system are antiquated and others have become irrelevant to the global society we live in. The curriculum of majority of Madarsas is exclusivist, which could give rise to fundamentalist tendencies among the students. It is a welcome trend, however, that some of the Madarsas have introduced modern education complemented with religious education.
In majority of these Madarsas, though, the students have no access to modern secular education. This not only breeds a sense of alienation, but also isolates them from the inclusive society that India is. General secular education will open the doors of perception and act as the natural light of mind for our people to live pro-actively in the total contest. If modern education is introduced in these Madarsas, it will certainly create conditions for promoting modern and secular outlook among students and empower them to participate as equal partners in an inclusive society.”
Justice Siddiqui further points out that the managers of Madrasas are completely confused regarding the objectives of Madrasa teachings. The curriculum prescribed in the Madrasas are neither uniform nor scientific. He cautions that-“What students learn in Madarsas is very largely based on religious instructions that fail to equip them with the skills required today. Muslims in India must realize that they are actually scraping the bottom of the education barrel in an era of internationalism.”
“Dar-ul-Uloom, Deoband” and “Dar-ul-Uloom Nadwat-ul Ulama, Lucknow” are two of the premier institutes of Islamic learning in India. They have a comprehensive syllabus that covers wide range of topics. The Nadwat-ul-Ulama of Lucknow also brought about certain far-reaching changes in the traditional curriculum of the Qaumi Madrasas. The primary five years cover complete primary education as prescribed for general schools along with giving religious lessons.
But, these changes are only limited to famous and well established Madrasas. A large number of Madrasas are neither affiliated to the Central Board nor registered with the state government. According to Maharashtra government’s data, only 1889 Madrasas are present in Maharashtra. But, Maulana Syed Athar Ali, a Muslim Personal Law Board member, has been quoted as saying that there are7000 Madrasas in Maharashtra.
It means that more than half of the Madrasas in Maharashtra function independently and have their own syllabus giving more importance to Islamic subjects and in some cases completely ignoring secular subjects. This has resulted in alienation and further deprivation of Muslim students who study in these Madrasas.
Therefore, it becomes very vital to bring about modernization of Madrasas for the benefit of the Muslim population of India.