Centre drafts 3Ts programme to reform madrasas
Though the suggestion on “Hifzul Quran Plus” has received a positive response, the idea to introduce mid-day meals for students in madrasas has not got the instant support of social reformers working for the Muslim cause. As Dr Syed Zafar Mahmood, president of Zakat Foundation of India, said, “There is good intention here, but a madrasa is a place where children not only come to educate themselves, but also to live. No madrasa runs without a three-times-a-day meal service, which is financed by people in the community. Madrasas do not face any shortage of food.”
However, Syed Babar Ashraf countered, “Yes, madrasas do not lack food, but the caretakers of madrasas have to run from pillar to the post and put in a lot of time and effort to collect donations to ensure the smooth functioning of madrasas. Mid-day meals will provide them relief and encourage children in the neighbourhood to start coming to madrasas.”
Among other important reforms that will be introduced by the ministry are opening of online teacher training centres to provide efficient teachers to madrasas, making the Class 1-Class 12 curricula mandatory in madrasas, introducing “smart classes” and online courses for journalism, translation and communication studies and holding periodic meetings to discuss the status of work completed on the ground.
Dr Mahmood of Zakat Foundation said, “An important reform needed is to bridge the distrust between the government and madrasa managers. A number of policies and schemes have been made and scrapped, because madrasa members see these as the government’s way of interfering with the madrasas’ functioning.”
The report emphasises, “There should be no interference of government agencies in the matters of the madrasas.”
Ashraf said, “We are aware of this huge challenge. For now, the beneficiaries of these reform proposals will only be those madrasas that have the infrastructure to meet the requirements. We hope to inspire other madrasas to join us gradually.”