Amid a row over the Maharashtra government’s decision to classify students of madrasas that do not teach mainstream subjects as ‘out-of-school’, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi of the BJP Friday said it was the Congress that had originally excluded madrasas from the category of formal schools.
“Under the Right to Education Act that the Congress government had introduced, madrasas were kept out of the category of formal schools. It was their call,” Naqvi said on the sidelines of an Iftar party organised by Republican Party of India (RPI) chief Ramdas Athavale at the Haj House in Mumbai.
Naqvi, Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs, said the BJP-led government in Maharashtra was not looking at closing or derecognising any madrasas. “No one is saying that any madrasa is doing anything wrong. Madrasas have a glorious history, and children studying there get education of really good quality, but at the same time it is true that some madrasas do not teach mainstream subjects. The BJP will help such institutions in every way possible,” the BJP minister said.
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The Maharashtra government has planned a survey on July 4 to assess the number of children between the ages of 6 and 14 not attending formal schools. The state triggered a controversy when it decided to not recognise madrasas which are not offering mainstream subjects such as science, mathematics, English and social studies in the survey.
Naqvi said the opposition was unnecessarily creating confusion and that the Congress should be renamed “Indian National Confusion” party.
“The Congress is indulging in a hit-and-run kind of a behaviour. They are themselves confused and are confusing people with something new every day. They should do some net practice for five years to know how the opposition works,” Naqvi said.