India state says Muslim madrassas not genuine schools

India's Maharashtra state says religious schools must teach formal curriculum to receive funding

India state says Muslim madrassas not genuine schools

World Bulletin / News Desk

An Indian state has "derecognized" Muslim schools known as madrassas, saying the institutions do not offer formal education. 

Dilip Kamble, the junior minority affairs minister for the western state of Maharashtra, said Thursday that the schools will not be recognized unless they follow the state government-approved curriculum. 

"Therefore, children studying in madrassas or in any other institutions based only on religious studies will not be counted among school students," said Kamble in a statement.

Kamble said schools which do not offer formal education or teach subjects like science, mathematics and social sciences will not be eligible for state funding.

He also said the state government will conduct a survey of such students in "informal" education and mark them as "out of school".

State Minority Affairs Minister Eknath Khadse said that the egalitarian aim behind the move was to bring students into the "mainstream".

"We want the minority to come up in all spheres of life. Thus, it is important that when they give religious teachings to students, they also give knowledge of other subjects at the same time," Khadse said.

Khadse said that out of 1,900 madrasas, 550 have agreed to teach mainstream subjects.

Ashutosh, a leader of New Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party, slammed the Maharashtra government’s move however.

"First beef and now madrassah? Signal for days to come! Maharashtra government is hell bent to kill minority rights!" Ashutosh tweeted, referring to an earlier ban on the sale of beef which was seen as based on Hindu ideology but mainly affected Muslims. 

Maharashtra's move also drew a sharp reaction from some of the madrassas, who claimed it was an attempt to interfere in their religious teachings.

"Our ancestors have long rejected such modernizing schemes by governments. Once we accept the government initiative, it will badly affect the soul of Islamic education that we impart to students," Maulana Ayyub Qasmi, chairman of a madrassa in the Muslim-majority town of Malegaon, told Anadolu Agency.

Qasmi said accepting the government proposal would mean the state would be free to interfere in the functioning of madrassas in the future.

"If the state government is so sincere about bringing Muslim students into the mainstream, why it is not sanctioning hundreds of minority school proposals lying unattended for years?" Qasmi said.

According to a federal government report, only 4 percent of Muslims attend madrassas.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Temmuz 2015, 17:54