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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS:Madrasas face an existential crisis

Source: The Hindu, The Hindu, The Hindu

 

  • Prelims:Madrasas, Article 25, Article 26, Article 30 etc
  • Mains GS Paper II:Government policies and interventions for development of various sectors, weaker sections of society and interventions for their development etc

 

ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to undertake a survey of madrasashas raised serious concerns over the fate of these institutions along with future of Muslim identity.

Reason given for survey:

  • Check the availability of basic facilities for the students.

 

INSIGHTS ON THE ISSUE

Context

Madrasa:

  • It refers to a specific type of religious school or college for the study of the religion of Islam, though this may not be the only subject studied.

 

Madrasas background:

  • They emerged mainly to save Muslim identity in the face of growing colonial interventions: which they suspected might impose Christian values on fellow Muslims
  • Resisted partition: Deoband took a political stand and fiercely resisted Partition.

 

Issues faced by Madrasas:

  • Semi-educated teaching staff: Many impart elementary theological instruction through semi-educated teachers.
  • Community funding: Madrasas depend almost fully on community funding.
    • 40% of the students in this madrasa who went back home during the COVID-19 pandemic did not return.
  • No online education: unlike public schools, they imparted no online instruction during Covid as most children studying in madrasas had no access to smartphones at home.

 

What will the Survey do?

  • Collect Information on 12 points including:
    • Infrastructure
    • Staff
    • Source of funding
    • Facilities available

 

Impact of survey:

  • Withdrawal of children:Parents are withdrawing their children from madrasas and engaging them in labour work.
  • Sending back outstation students: Learning may get impacted for thousands of youngsters.
  • For poverty-stricken parents: The madrasas’ free boarding and lodging is a blessing.
    • Education is often considered a bonus.

 

Sachar Committee Report (2006):

  • Only 3% of Muslim childrenof school-going age go to madrasas at the national level
  • Draw a distinction between madrasas and maktabs: Maktabs are neighbourhood schools, often attached to mosques.
  • Share of Muslims who attend madrasas and maktabs: It is not more than 3(six point three)%, the report said.
  • Muslims are aspirational: Report’s most crucial observation.
  • Muslim parents are eager to see their children enrolled in modern education institutions: fail do to their poor financial condition.

 

Recommendation by the report;

  • Scholarshipsshould be given to Muslim students so that they don’t drop out of school.

 

Constitutional Rights to Muslims:

Article 25: It says “all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice, and propagate religion subject to public order, morality and health.”

Article 26: It says that all denominations can manage their own affairs in matters of religion.

Article 30: It gives minorities the right to establish and run their educational institutions.

 

Way Forward

  • Madrasas and modernity: While there are issues concerning madrasas and modernity, concerning patriarchy and child rights(raised by the Sachar Committee).
    • To have any state intervention inspired by Islamophobic views will only help deepen majoritarianism

 

QUESTION FOR PRACTICE

  1. Are tolerance, assimilation and pluralism the key elements in the making of an Indian form of secularism? Justify your answer.(UPSC 2022)

(200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)