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Teachers for modern education in madrasahs

Concerted efforts are being made by government since long to introduce current education covering Hindi, English, science, arithmetic etc in madrasahs and to appoint teachers for teaching these subjects. Though, we are not concerned with the aims and objectives behind this planned scheme but we want to focus our attention on the problems and difficulties that are likely to be faced in implementing this scheme. Some important questions relevant to this scheme are being posed here for consideration of the government as well as madrasah authorities.

a) Is this scheme of teaching modern subjects like Hindi, Arithmetic etc and appointing teachers also applicable to madrasahs where such arrangements are already in effect or are they exempted from this scheme?

b) Every institution is managed and governed under its own system or rules and regulations and no two or more systems, especially when they may be inconsistent with each other, can be operational in any institution. In view of this, will the teachers appointed by the government for teaching modern subjects in madrasahs be governed by the rules and regulations prescribed by the madrasahs or by those framed by the government?

c) In case these teachers appointed by the government indulge in some activities, deliberately or inadvertently, which are prejudicial to the interests or primary objectives of madrasahs, and if the madrasah, management thinks that their employment or their activities may be harmful for the madrasahs, will the management be justified in dispensing with their services? Moreover, who will decide about the fairness, justification or otherwise of their activities?

d) What will be the educational syllabus of madrasahs? Because the traditional syllabi of madrasahs which include Islamic education, Arabic, Hadith etc cannot be taught by Shastrijis and if modern syllabus which contains matters or instructions contrary to Islamic teachings is prescribed, it cannot be taught to children in madrasahs.

e) In these madrasahs, timings for students are divided depending upon the subjects and lessons. Since the primary objective of these madrasahs is imparting of religious education, these subjects include reading of the Qur’an, its memorisation, Urdu, Arabic, Persian, Theology, Grammar, Exegesis, History etc which consume full time and hardly any spare time is left. On the other hand, education of Hindi, English, Arithmetic, Science etc will also take full time. Hence it is very difficult to teach all subjects within a limited period. If more time is devoted for teaching modern subjects, very little time is left for subjects covering religious education which is the primary aim of madrasahs. As is found out by experience and observation, religious education is becoming only formal.

f) Most of the madrasahs are facing shortage of accommodation or space. Because of this constraint, it will become all the more difficult to arrange extra space for teaching modern subjects and for their teachers.

g) Generally speaking, students of these madrasahs are fit only for teaching in such madrasahs and they are taunted for remaining unemployed or misfits in other institutions or offices. Will the problem of their unemployment be solved after receiving such religious-cum-modern education? Or some special scheme will be introduced to provide employment to such students? If the answer is in the affirmative, can any such scheme be mentioned?
A news item was published in ‘Rashtriya Sahara’ of June 28 that a monthly salary of Rs 1,000/= has been announced for such teachers. Is this amount of Rs 1,000/= sufficient for such teachers teaching modern subjects? If not, as is quite obvious, how the additional amount will be arranged?

h) Teachers for current education in madrasahs will be appointed by the Ministry of education. The appointees can be men, women belonging to any religion, whereas from the point of view of special instructions and teachings of Islam, teachers having particular qualifications and characteristics can be appointed as teachers in these madrasahs.

i) These religious madrasahs are run and managed by public contribution and subscription by Muslims. When Muslims find that government is providing financial assistance to these madrasahs, they will stop contributing or subscribing. In that case, how these madrasahs will be run?

These are not mere suppositions or wishful thinkings. Madrasahs receiving government assistance in Bihar and in some other states have lost their religious characters. There are numerous such questions. Only some of the more important and fundamental questions needing urgent attention are given above as models so that responsible authorities of madrasahs as well as of government concerned with framing policies for these madrasah should bear these question and their answers in mind.

¯ Mufti Rasheed Ahamd Qasimi
Head, Darul Uloom Idia, Mewat
(Translated from Urdu)

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