By Najam Gilani and Manzar Bilal, TwoCircles.net,
Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Arjun Singh has recently announced that a Central Madrasa Board will be created and thereafter madrasa certificates will become equivalent to those of CBSE and affiliates of the Council of Board of School Education (COBSE). TwoCircles.net reporters visited some madrasas in Mumbai and Patna to get their views.
While the proposal has not gone down well with some madrasas in Mumbai, saying government should first care about 96% of educated Muslims who are not madrasa graduates yet jobless, Bihar’s prestigious Madrasa Shamsul Hoda in Patna has wholeheartedly welcomed it but with a rider: sanctity and identity of madarsas should not get diluted. Both the cities are united on one point: the announcement could be a political gimmick.
HRD minister’s announcement has once again brought into limelight the issue of modernizing the madrasa education system for mainstreaming madrasa students across the country and helping them clear way to higher education. The HRD Ministry is all set to issue a notification to the effect and grant madrasa certificates equivalence to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
The proposal will benefit around 7000 madrasas and 3.5 lakh students in seven states of the country that have madrasa boards namely Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Orrisa, Assam and West Bengal. This will also apply to madrasa certificates already issued. In states which do not have madrasa boards, the students will have an option to approach a madarsa board in a neighboring state to avail of the CBSE equivalence.
The Sachar Committee, appointed to review the status of minorities across the country, had made the recommendation. The suggestion has also been recommended on the PM’s 15-point programme for minorities.
So far, only a few universities including Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), Jamia Hamdard and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) accept students from madrasas for direct entry into various undergraduate courses. These universities issue a list of recognised madrasas from which they admit students into various programmes.
Reacting to the HRD minister’s announcement Principal of Madrasa Islamia Shamsuul Hoda Abdul Kalam Qasmi Shasmi told TwoCircles.net: “I welcome this decision of the government which certainly will benefit the Muslim students.”
He also said that he has spoken to several madrasas across the state to know their view and all of them are happy with the announcement. “Anything which is done for the uplift of community/society we welcome that, there is no question of any disagreement,” he said adding a rider. “Though we welcome all the decision but it should be done keeping in mind that sanctity and identity of madrasas should not get diluted,” Abul Kalam Qasmi said.
The other important question according to him is that from where the teachers will come to teach the C.B.S.E course to madarsa students. “No doubts it’s a welcome announcement, but who will teach the students.” It should not be done just for the sake of politics—a mere announcement.”
Most madarsa graduates in Mumbai have doubts about this proposal and they are not sure about the intention of the government.
Mufti Asadullah Qasmi strongly condemned this proposal of the government arguing that why government is worried about only four per cent Muslim children attending madrasas. “It should care first the ninety six per cent Muslim students as most of them are still jobless. We have seen the sorry condition of madrasas which are related to Madrasa Board. So, the first and most important is to standardise the madrasa system of education,” said Mufti Asadullah Qasmi to TCN.
“If this proposal is about all kinds of madrasas then we demand government firs to have successful experience with those madrasa which is under the Madrasa Boards then apply it to independent madrasas. If it is only for madrasas related to Madrasa Board then it is nothing only to make fool the Muslim community before forthcoming elections because it is already recognized,” said Maulana Zakir Qasmi, a teacher at Madrasa Talimul Qur’an in Malad, Mumbai.
As government made clear that the step has been taken to provide job opportunities for out-coming students of madrasa Maulana Abdullah Marufi said, “If government is really serious about job problems of Muslim youths then it should give reservation first. As far as madrasas are concerned they are doing their service and they should not be disturbed.”
However, many are supporting the move to form central madrasa board.
“We do not need any assistance of the government but the formation of Central Madrasa Board can benefit the madrasas related to Madrasa Board.,” said Hafiz Saeed, Mohtamim of Madrasa Madinatul Ma’arif in Jogeshwari, Mumbai, adding that the announcement is not enough but the government needs to appoint teachers on the basis of qualification and to keep on investigating the quality of education offered in these madrasas and always to have eye on management. Otherwise, this proposal will not have any benefits as corruption is occupied everywhere.”
“It would be a positive step because the need of the hour is to introduce some changes and amendments to the madrasa syllabus in order to keep pace with the times and fulfill the requirements of this modern age. But not so much that the real purpose of Madrasa Education will be missed,” said Maulana Irfan Nadvi Qasmi who is working at an office as translator of English to Arabic and vice versa.