In the backdrop of Prime Minister’s 15-points program and Sachar Committee report on Madrasa modernization schemes, Government has decided to treat Madrasa qualification at par with CBSE to enable Muslim students to get Central government jobs. Apart from 7,000 Madrasas, more than 3.5 lakh Madrasa students will get the advantage from this decision.
This is being viewed as a revolutionary step. Till now the Madrasa degrees are recognised by the Jamia Milia Islamia, Jamia Hamdard, Aligarh Muslim University and by a few other minority institutions. These universities issue a list of recognized Madrasas from which they admit students into various programmes.
Now madrasa degrees will be recognized by prestigious educational institutions of India. This would also create two streams within the Madrasa system—one group of students would study in Madrasas for a couple of years—and then would be able to join colleges and universities. Others, who want to spend their life serving the cause of the faith, can carry on with specialized religious education.
All this looks good at first sight. Now one question crops up is about the educational development of Muslim children. How many students of the Muslim community will be benefited from this step? How many children are going to Madrasas? Sachar Committee data shows that only 3 to 4 per cent of school-going Muslim children go to Madrasas. What about remaining students?
Will it help Muslims’ Children? How can the Madrasa students be given CBSE equivalent certificates without modernized content? I am not critical of or opposed to the Madrasas as such. But I think that schemes for educational development of Muslim students should not be linked with Madrasa education.
Before this proposal is introduced, a lot needs to be done at the Madrasa level to put it on a par with mainstream schools. An equivalent certificate could make madrasa students “eligible” to apply for jobs, but will not ensure they get the job in a competitive environment unless curriculum is modernized. Because most of the madrasas in India teach purely theological education and not modern subjects. Now it is the responsibility of madrasas that they must introduce modern subjects in madrasa curriculum.
One is not asking that modern subjects be taught in the Madrasas till the Mufti or Muhaddis level. But at least, Madrasa students must know the basics of various ‘modern’ subjects, as this will help them in their own life.
They should know basic Mathematics, Hindi, English, History, Geography and so on. If Madrasa students will not know the basics, they will never be able to compete with university students. Undoubtedly Madarsa students are basically good, then extra efforts of good education in Madrasa will empower them to compete with other fellow students.