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Bureaucrats foil madrasah education modernisation programme

Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of India, has undertaken the modernisation programme of madrasah education which, involving a budget of crores of rupees, is being implemented by education ministries of the state governments. However, the way in which the bureaucrats, particularly the communal ones, who are actually implementing all government policies and programmes, are trying to derail this programme has made its future very bleak. The surprising but distressing thing is that Muslim leadership which generally confines itself to merely fiery speeches and articles in newspapers is either completely unaware of such biased attitude of bureaucrats or does not see any political or selfish interest of its own.

It is because of such attitude of bureaucrats and Muslim leaders that this programme, which is the brain child of former (late) prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and which was introduced eight years ago, has virtually made no progress at all. He had drawn up this programme during his prime ministership after closely examining the pitiable condition of such madrasahs in Darbhanga (Bihar) and introduced by Narasimha Rao’s government in 1994. The objective of this programme was to provide modern and latest educational facilities to madrasah children such as teaching of science, mathematics and such other subjects, setting up laboratories, appointment of teachers for these subjects etc but bureaucrats either ignored it or always put some spoke or the other, thereby withholding its implementation.

The latest example in this respect is Bihar whose government claims to be secular and standard bearer of social justice. Some bureaucrats of this state with a communal bend of mind are bent upon spoiling the programme of modernisation of madrasahs’ education. Ministry of Human Resources Development had provided more than Rs 43 lakh to Bihar government in 1999-2000 for this programme to be implemented by Bihar State Madrasah Education Board. But neither the Bihar government nor responsible authorities of Madrasah Education Board are aware of the how and where Bihar’s education secretary, BP Shrivastava utilised or spent this amount. 

After one year, the Union government allocated Rs 3.57 crore for this programme to the Bihar government for the next financial year but the Central government did not actually send this amount to Bihar government because it did not send the utilisation certificate i.e. a detailed account of how the pervious amount of Rs 43 lakh was utilised.

Bihar’s education secretary, BP Shrivastava is also the chairman of the Committee dealing with the Madrasahs’ Education Modernisation Programme. His anti-madrasah attitude can also be judged from the fact that throwing all rules and regulations to the wind, he appointed science teachers for madrasahs without any interview and also who did not know Urdu whereas science in madrasahs is taught in Urdu. In spite of best efforts of Madrasah Education Board Chairman Prof. Abdul Waahid, Shrivastava did not clarify what rules he had followed in appointing science teachers. Not only this, even after two years he did not clarify as to why he had not sent utilisation certificate to the Central government in consequence of which the grant of Rs 3.57 crore for the year 2000-2001 for modernisation programme was withheld. This writer met BP Shrivastava and specifically talked to him about this problem but he tried to evade by explaining away that because of pressure and pre-occupation with other matters this programme could not be implemented but the department of education is quite serious now to implement this scheme.

National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL) is working under Human Resource Development ministry and is also interested in the execution of this programme. NCPUL has compiled and prepared educational syllabus for all madrasah education boards. Though this council is also trying to take over the Madrasah Board modernisation programme in its own hands, it also realises the difficulties that can be created by communal bureaucrats at the implementation. Human Resource Development ministry also wants that Madrasah Boards themselves should directly take over the responsibility of implementing this programme but will people like BP Shrivastava allow this to happen? In that case Muslim leaders and the forces swearing by secularism and social justice should come forward and put pressure on implementation of this programme. It is common knowledge that officers and decision makers with Sangh mentality have penetrated every department and branch of official machinery who, along with a particular section of media, are actively working and conspiring against madrasahs and everything associated with Muslims. These forces do not want that the light of education should reach poor Muslim children through more than fifty thousand madrasahs spread all over the country.

What is needed is that the thousands of madrasahs spread throughout the country should be brought together by a national level network and made an organised force. Such a system will not only be the biggest educational network of the world but will also revolutionise madrasah education modernisation programme. 

¯ Irshadul Haq

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