By Ajay Kaul
New Delhi, June 11 (IANS) Just days after assuming office for the second term, the Modi government has initiated significant steps towards modernisation of ‘madrassa’ education and to link it with formal education.
The programme will be rolled out next month with the training of teachers of such informal institutes of Muslims, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told IANS in an interview here on Tuesday.
He said the government is also working on a plan to ensure that the students who come out of madrassas get formal and higher education in institutes like Jamia Millia Islamia and Delhi University.
“We want to link madrassas with the formal education system,” Naqvi underlined.
A madrassa is an informal educational institute where generally Islamic studies are imparted to the pupils. According to some estimates, there are lakhs of such institutes spread all over the country.
Giving details of the plan to modernise the madrassa education, Naqvi said as a first step, the teachers of the madrassas will be provided training in formal education.
“Their (madrassa) teachers will be given training in formal education. We will ask madrassas themselves to identify the teachers for this. We will train them so that they can provide formal education in madrassas,” said the minister.
The programme will start from next month, he said, adding, “In the first phase, we will try to train at least 200 teachers from all over the country.”
It will be a one-month course.
Talking about another related initiative, the minister said the government will also help the students who come out of madrassas with a ‘bridge course’ so that they get formal degrees.
“We have talked to Jamia Millia. I am talking to Delhi University. We will be talking to more such institutes,” said Naqvi, who was the Minority Affairs Minister in the first term of the Modi government as well.
The bridge course will be available from eighth standard onwards so that the children coming out of the madrassas can at least get formal Secondary School or Higher Secondary School degrees.
He said in the madrassas too, the government wants to introduce formal education in the form of subjects like English, Hindi, Science, Maths, Computer Sciences, among others.
Explaining the need for such an initiative, Naqvi said poor people and villagers generally send their children to madrassas because of lack of availability of formal schools to them.
“There are a lot of madrassas. First thing is why do madrassas come up? They come up because in small villages there are no schools and colleges. The formal education is not available,” he said.