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Government has spent Rs. 1000 crores modernizing Islamic educational institutions, says Minister for Human Resource Development

Over 48,000 madrasas in Uttar Pradesh (UP) received financial assistance during the last seven years

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In Dhaka, Madrasa students carrying out a rally. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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  • 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.

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UP madrasas received maximum funds

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.

madrasa
Image source: indianexpress.com

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.

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“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)

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Child Rights Summit: Nations Should Spend More on Education Over Weapons

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child rights summit
Displaced Syrian children look out from their tents at Kelbit refugee camp, near the Syrian-Turkish border, in Idlib province, Syria, Jan. 17, 2018. VOA

Countries should spend more on schooling and less on weapons to ensure that children affected by war get an education, a child rights summit heard Monday.

The gathering in Jordan was told that a common thread of war was its devastating impact in keeping children out of school.

Indian Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi, who founded the summit, said ensuring all children around the world received a primary and secondary education would cost another $40 billion annually — about a week’s worth of global military expenditure.

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child rights summit
Nobel Peace Prize laureates Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai listen to speeches during the Nobel Peace Prize awards ceremony at the City Hall in Oslo, Dec. 10, 2014. VOA

“We have to choose whether we have to produce guns and bullets, or we have to produce books and pencils to our children,” he told the second Laureates and Leaders for Children Summit that gathers world leaders and Nobel laureates.

Global military expenditure reached almost $1.7 trillion in 2016, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The United Nations children’s agency UNICEF said last year 27 million children were out of school in conflict zones.

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“We want safe schools, we want safe homes, we want safe countries, we want a safe world,” said Satyarthi, who shared the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize with Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai for his work with children.

Jordan’s Prince Ali bin al-Hussein told the summit, which focused on child refugees and migrants affected by war and natural disasters, that education was “key,” especially for “children on the move.”

“Education can be expensive, but never remotely as close to what is being spent on weapons. … They [children] are today’s hope for a better future,” he told the two-day summit.

Kerry Kennedy, president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, a nonprofit group, described the number of Syrian refugees not in school in the Middle East as “shocking” as the war enters its eighth year.

Kennedy cited a report being released Tuesday by the KidsRights Foundation, an international children’s rights group, which found 40 percent of school-aged Syrian children living in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq cannot access education. VOA