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India: Jamiat Ulama to contest decision to convert all madrasas into regular schools in Assam

Friday 18 December 2020, by siawi3

Source: https://sabrangindia.in/article/jamiat-ulama-contest-decision-convert-all-madrasas-regular-schools-assam

Jamiat Ulama to contest decision to convert all madrasas into regular schools in Assam

State gov’t to table bill in Assembly on December 28

Sabrangindia

17 Dec 2020

On Monday, December 14, Assam’s Education and Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma made an important announcement about government-run madrasas in Assam. He said, “The word ‘madrasa’ will be removed from the name of these schools. The High Madrasas will now be called High Schools and a 50-mark paper on the Quran will be dropped from the syllabus.” The decision was made to secularise education, reasoned the minister.

High Madrasas are run by the Board of Secondary Education in Assam, and are equivalent to classes 9 and 10 of regular schools. The decision effectively ends High Madrasa exams beyond 2022. Not only will High Madrasas be converted into High Schools, theological courses will also be discontinued. This applies to 189 government-run High Madrasas in Assam.

Additionally, the State Madrassa Education Board, Assam, which looks after pre-senior madrasas, senior madrasas, Arabic colleges and title madrasas, will be also dissolved after declaration of results of the examinations conducted in 2021-22 as per the government’s decision.

Now, the Assam unit of the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind has decided to legally contest the decision. The Jamiat held a four-hour meeting at the Garigaon madrasa in Guwahati on Tuesday, December 15, and decided to legally challenge the government’s decision if it brings in a new ordinance or act. Hafiz Bashir Ahmed Qasimi, general secretary of the state Jamiat, also told The Telegraph, “At the same time we will also request the government to modernise madrasa education instead of shutting them down.” Addressing the matter of secularsing education, Qasimi told The Telegraph that the Quran wasn’t only about religion, “It is high standard literature. The madrasa syllabus can be modernised.”

In October this year, Sarma had announced that all madrasas and Sanskrit tols in the state will be shut down soon. He had reasoned then, “There should be no religious education with government funding.” However, he clarified that this only applied to government run institutions saying, “We have nothing to say about privately-run madrasas and Sanskrit tols.”

The state government will table a bill to this effect in the Assembly on December 28.

Related: Assam to shut down gov’t run madrasas, Sanskrit tols?