Cen­tre drafts 3Ts pro­gramme to re­form madrasas

The Sunday Guardian - - The Big Story - CON­TIN­UED FROM P1

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.”

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