Assam’s Bill on Madrasa Conversion
- 31 Dec 2020
- 3 min read
Why in News
The Assam Assembly has recently passed a Bill to convert state-run madrasas into regular schools - removing them from the status of centres for religious education.
- The Cabinet has also decided that the existing provincialised Sanskrit tols will be converted to “study centres, research centres and institutions to study the Certificate/ Diploma/ Degree courses” to be started by Kumar Bhaskar Varma Sanskrit and Ancient Studies University, Nalbari with effect from 1st April 2022.
- The Assam Repealing Bill, 2020 was brought to repeal two existing Acts:
- The Assam Madrassa Education (Provincialisation) Act, 1995.
- The Assam Madrassa Education (Provincialisation of Services of Employees and Re-Organisation of Madrassa Educational Institutions) Act, 2018.
- The new legislation also covers private-run madrasas that are run under the state boards although private-run madrasas which are not under any state board will remain outside its purview.
- In English, the term madrasah or "madrasa" usually refers more narrowly to Islamic institutions of learning.
- Historians and other scholars also employ the term to refer to historical madrasah institutions throughout the Muslim world, which is to say a college/school where Islamic law was taught along with other secondary subjects.
- The Madrasas run by the Board of Secondary Education, Assam (SEBA) will have ‘madrasa’ dropped from their names and function as regular schools.
- The staff of the madrasas, especially those teachers teaching religious subjects, will be retained. They will be either trained to teach other subjects or in some other capacity.
- It is said to be a move to empower the Muslim community.
- The bill is being said to follow the ideals of B R Ambedkar. He had said that religious instruction should have no place in curriculum.
- The Quran should not be taught on government expenditure because the Bible or the Bhagavad Gita or texts of other religions are not taught on it.
- The government spends Rs. 260 crore on madrasas and the Sanskrit “tols” (sanskrit learning centres) annually.
- Further, secularism is one of the ‘basic features’ of the Constitution.
- The government aspires that in the future a law is made to make private madrasas teach science, maths and other subjects along with religious subjects.