Madarsas willing to include mainstream curriculum with religious education stand to beneft from SSA scheme

Madarsas that are willing to impart mainstream education along with religious education would be brought under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) scheme of the central government. When state government was confused about the status of Madarsa students in its recent survey of out-of-school children, this initiative by MHRD comes as a motivation to Madarsas. However experts still doubt complete success to the module as Madarsas may fear government control, which is may come along with grants.

Coming under the SSA will mean being eligible to receive government grants, which can be used for infrastructural development and other aspects such as teacher training. Until now Madarsas received grants under the scheme for providing quality education. It is expected that with this move, Madarsas, which are only looking at imparting religious education will change their form by adding mainstream curriculum by affiliating with available school board options.

A senior official from the MHRD, told mid-day, "While financial grants are anyway offered to Madarsas under support to minority institutions, bringing them under SSA will help overall development of Madarsa education. This is also expected to motivate many to offer mainstream education. In view of modernisation of Madarsas, this could be a good move as Madarsas are not required to completely do away with religious education."

Zaheer Kazi, President of Anjuman-i-Islam Education Trust, told Midday, "This scheme is welcoming as religious education continues at Madrasas. But it also faces similar obstacles of the modernisation of Madrasas scheme. Few Madarsa authorities have fear of losing their autonomy with government's interference. However if it is made clear that it will be an advantageous combination, which institution will not like to receive grants from government?"

He continued, "Already there are such Madrasas, which are imparting mainstream education. There are also few others from where students appear for mainstream board examination through National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS). So those willing to do it are already imparting mainstream education."

President of Maharashtra Cosmopolitan Education society, Dr. P A Inamdar, who is working towards modernisation of Madarsas expressed, "This will motivate Madarsas to offer mainstream education and to do so for appointment of teachers etc. Government grants will be much helpful. However, this has to be effectively communicated to the Madarsas authorities."

Shagufta Khan, head of Al-Falah School which already is offering state board curriculum, said, “We have to move with the world and so we already run state board curriculum along with religious education. The extended financial support by government will be very positive. But we are already running state board curriculum. How other Madarsas respond to it is more important."

Shafi Inamdar, Chairman of Ideal Education Trust, which runs several Islamic schools and Madrasas said, “It will motivate several to come forward in giving mainstream education. However it would be important to know more details of the scheme and what exactly is the government expecting from it."

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