Bengal to recognise 10,000 madrasas
Bengal government will give recognition to around 10,000 madrasas,
the Islamic seminaris, under the state madrasa education board,
enabling them to seek central funds for upgradation, Chief
Minister Mamata Banerjee said Friday.
The announcement of recognition to a large number of madrassas by
the West Bengal government has brought a glimmer of hope to
thousands of Muslim students, including a growing number of girls,
who were deprived of proper educational opportunities and
There are however many who feel the move may not work, especially
when it comes without any assurance of state funds.
"While 25 percent of Bengal's population (23 million
approximately) is Muslim, the number of recognised madrassas in
the entire state is just 611, of which only 17 schools are purely
Urdu-medium while the rest are mixed medium," state Madrassa Board
president Giyasuddin Siddiqui said.
Kolkata has just eight madrassas, only four of them having Urdu as
the medium of instruction.
The announcement by the Mamata Banerjee government of giving
recognition to 10,000 madrassas is surely a right step forward,
"The process for identifying the schools has started and by the
end of this year, a substantial number of them will be given
recognition. The conditions for recognition are that the schools
should have a building of their own and sufficient teachers. They
must follow the syllabus prescribed by us which is at par with
other boards in the state," Siddiqui added.
However, there are many who are sceptical it will make a
"Many of the existing madrassas don't have proper buildings, or
sufficient number of teachers. Moreover, a large number of the
schools have teachers who are not adequately qualified to teach in
the medium. Blindly giving recognition without proper
infrastructure will only compound the problem and not solve it,"
Urdu Academy member Shahnaz Nabi told IANS.
Another problem peculiar to government-run madrassas is the vacant
posts of teachers under the reserved category.
"As the Muslim community has no SC/ST category, the posts reserved
for them are lying vacant. The government must come out with a
solution to this very strange problem. I find it hard to
understand the need for such a move when there exists no such
category in the community," Aliah University professor Salman
As the recognised madrassas were initially under the West Bengal
Board of Secondary Education, the reserved seats were created. But
now, they are under the Madrassa Board and the government is
mulling to do away with the reserved posts and filling up the
vacancies, said Siddiqui.
Some also feel the move to recognise the madrassas may not be
"The 'kharezi' (unrecognised) madrassas are run through charity
and have their own set of rules and regulations. If they get
government affiliation, they will have to follow the government
rules and the syllabus of the state Madrassa Board, which they
might not be willing to accept.
"Moreover, the move to give recognition has not been backed by a
separate fund. So there are chances that many of the Kharezis will
not apply for the same," said Alamgir Jaan, a retired madrassa
Banerjee, while making the announcement for recognition, had said
that once recognised, the madrassas will get money from the
central government but did not say anything on financial
assistance from the state.
In spite of the government running advertisements in Hindi and
Urdu newspapers published from Kolkata in June and July (2011),
not many schools have applied for recognition.
"Up till March this year, about 60 madrassas have applied, of
which a few had to be rejected because of some anomalies in their
applications. Without assurance of funds from the state, the
madrassas are hardly willing to apply," a Madrasah Board official
Some madrassas have complaints regarding the syllabus.
"Computer literacy and knowledge of English have become a
prerequisite to be successful, but the Madrassa syllabi are far
from competitive. Suitable changes must be incorporated so that
the students are able to prepare themselves suitably," Nasreen
Khan, a journalist, told IANS..
On the rosier side though, female students in the madrassas not
only outnumber males, more girls than boys are passing the Class
10 exam. During 2010-11, of the 50,000 students who appeared for
the Class 10 exams, 75.62 percent passed the exam, of whom 63
percent were females.
This year, of the 50,000-plus students who appeared for the exam,
almost 66 percent are girls.
"The figures are a revelation and contrary to the popular belief
that females from the community are not allowed to join schools,"
(Anurag Dey can be contacted at email@example.com)