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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.

Key Points

  • 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.

Source:IE

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