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Plans to set up Central Madrassa Board
December 02, 2006 17:52 IST
The issue would be brought up at a meeting convened by National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions in New Delhi on Sunday, which would also deliberate on introduction of modern education in madrassas.
"The proposal is that the Central madrassa Board on the pattern of Central Board of Secondary Education should be set up through an Act of Parliament and it should be an autonomous body without any interference from the Government," NCMEI Chairman Jutice M S A Siddiqui told PTI.
Affiliation to this Board would be optional or voluntary, he said adding that there was consensus among madrassa Boards in various states and stakeholders on the introduction of modern education in madrassas.
Rejecting opposition to a Central Madrassa Board, Siddiqui said that a "silent majority of Muslims is with the Commission". The Central madrassa Board was not going to control any State madrassa Board.
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board had earlier rejected the idea of creating a Central madrassa Board.
Scholars, educationists and stakeholders in madrassa education would be participating in the daylong conference, which would be inaugurated by Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh.
"Lack of education is responsible for every ills in our community," Justice Siddiqui said adding that the Commission has been constituted to safeguard the educational rights of minorities.
Singh had earlier clarified the government's policy on Muslim education by saying it would not force anything on them.
A broad consensus on the necessity to introduce modern education in madrassa education system has arisen, officials in the ministry said.
"The idea is to introduce teaching of subjects like mathematics, science, computer and also vocational education along with theological studies, without diluting the religious teaching which is central to the madrassas," they said.
The Rajinder Sachar committee has favoured working out mechanisms for linking madrassas with a higher secondary school board for integrating the traditional way of teaching with the mainstream education.
"Muslim parents are not averse to modern or mainstream education and to sending their children to affordable government schools. They do not necessarily prefer to send children to madrassas," the report said.
Recognising that madrassas have played an important role in providing religious education, it said linking madrassas with a higher secondary school board would enable students to shift to mainstream education.
The committee noted that literacy rate among Muslims in 2001 was 59.1 per cent, far below the national average of 65.1 per cent.