Assam Madrassa Teachers Oppose Govt Decision to Shut Down Madrassas

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Assam Madrassa Teachers Oppose Govt Decision to Shut Down Madrassas

Saumya Mishra | February 22, 2020 15:26 hrs

GUWAHATI: 706 madrassas in Assam which include provincialised as well as government-recognised madrassas to be converted into regular high schools  

Members of the Assam Madrassa Coordination Committee (AMCC) opposed the government's recent decision to shut down madrassas in the state.

Recently, state education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had said that the government will shut down all government-run Madrassas as well as Sanskrit Tols within the next 4-5 months. He had added that the Madrassas will be modernised and will be converted into high schools.

It is to be mentioned that there are a total of 706 Madrassas in Assam which include provincialised as well as government-recognised Madrassas. Further, a total of more than 70,000 students study in these Madrassas currently. 
                    
Addressing a press meet in Guwahati after the education minister mentioned the state government’s decision to shut down all institutes providing religious education, members of the AMCC said that the government recognised Madrassas as well as provincialised Madrassas provide general education in addition to theological education.  

They have appealed to the state government that the Madrassas already impart education which comes under the SEBA board and also provide theological knowledge to students. Thus, they said that there is no need to modernise the Madrassas.

The teachers said that Madrassas impart education in three levels; these include Pre-senior Madrassas, Senior Madrassas and Title Madrassa and Arabic College. They further informed that the Dakhil examination conducted by the Madrassa is equivalent to matriculation degree. 

“Students already learn the subjects which are included in the SEBA board including English, Mathematics, Social Studies, Arabic, Hindi, vocational studies and computer education as well," informed Faruq Ahmed Lashkar, member AMCC. 

During the press meet, they also showed a notification by the Assam Higher Secondary Council (AHSEC) to media persons which mentioned, “It is notified to all concerned that the Assam Higher Secondary Education Council has allowed the passed out candidates of Madrassa matriculation ‘Dakhil’ examination conducted by the State Madrassa Education Board, Assam to take admission into the HS First Year in Higher Secondary School, Senior Secondary Schools and Degree Colleges under the Assam Higher Secondary Education Council in all the streams- Arts, Science, Commerce and Vocational.”

It further states that the candidates must pass under the same syllabus of HSLC course as prescribed by SEBA for the subjects - English, MIL, General Science, Mathematics and Social Science. 
                
Farikuudin Ahmed, chief coordinator of AMCC mentioned, “It is not as though the Madrassas were established privately, the government has given them recognition as well as permission.”    

He added that Madrassas are not merely restricted to providing religious education. “Students learn the SEBA course in Madrassas and are eligible to take admission in any professional course such as engineering, medical or any other field after passing out from Madrassas.”      

The teachers added that by making Madrassas equivalent to high schools, the government will demote them. Instead they feel that the government should start a university for the board. The AMCC members will take their plea to the chief minister.


Govt’s decision draws flak from minority community 

The Assam government’s decision to close down Madrassas has not gone down well with the members of the Muslim community. They feel that it has hurt the sentiments of their community.  

Several people from the minority community feel that the BJP-led government is deliberately taking such decisions to make Muslims feel like second class citizens in their home state. 
 
“We are indigenous Assamese Muslims and have always lived together with people from other communities with a sense of equality and brotherhood. However, with the government bringing in such new policies, it seems like they are discriminating against the Muslims,” said Imran Rasul, a senior citizen of Guwahati. 

Further, another member of the community told G Plus that the BJP-government is almost resorting to “bullying” in order to pass their decisions which suit their larger agenda.
 
“Instead of focussing on development works and welfare of people, it feels as if the government is only concerned about religion and other such issues. The politicians should remember that the people of Assam had voted for them with the hopes that they would help in bringing about a better standard of living for them, but in vain,” said another Guwahatian on the condition of anonymity.   
                  
On the other hand, it is to be mentioned that in contrast the Uttar Pradesh government in its recently-presented 2020-21 budget, Yogi Adityanath government has allocated a total of Rs 479 crore has been allocated for Madrassas and ‘maktabs’. Further, the UP government made a provision of Rs 459 crore for modernisation of Arabic-Persian Madrassas. 

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