The Assam government has approved the dropping of Islamic subjects from the curriculum of all state-run madrasas and the institutions are to be turned into regular schools. Also, the government has approved converting Sanskrit tolls into centres for learning of Indian heritage and civilisation.
“In 1934, when Assam was run by Muslim League government under Sir Syed Sadullah, madrasa education was introduced in the Assam education curriculum.. Yesterday our state government in our Cabinet meeting has finally decided to reform the education system and make it secular. As a result all [state-run] madrasa will stop functioning and they will be converted into institutions of general education,” Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told reporters on Monday.
Assam currently has two kinds of state-run madrasas — 189 High Madrasa and Madrasa Higher Secondary Schools run under the Board of Secondary Education, Assam (SEBA) and the Assam Higher Secondary Education Council (AHSEC); and 542 Pre-Senior, Senior and Title Madrasa and Arabic College run by the State Madrasa Education Board.
An official note on the points approved by the cabinet showed that the government has decided to dissolve the State Madrassa Education Board after results of the examination of the 2021-22 academic year are announced.
Thereafter, all records, bank accounts and staff shall be transferred to SEBA.
These institutions will admit students from April next year against “relevant courses of SCERT, SEBA and AHSEC as applicable for their institutions”. From the Pre-Senior, Senior and Title Madrasas and Arabic Colleges, subjects like Holy Quran, Islamic Studies, Fiqh, Hadith, Usul Al Fiqh, Aqua, Tafsir, Hadith and Fariad will be removed — although Arabic will continue as a language.
The staff will continue to get salaries and allowances as before; however, the account head will change from ‘Madrasa education’ to ‘Secondary education’. “The posts of teachers who are teaching theological subjects in the provincialised madrasa institutions will teach other subjects available in their schools as per their aptitude,” the note said.
The High and Higher Secondary Madrasas run by SEBA will have ‘madrasa’ dropped from their names and function as regular schools. The note said, “The Fiqh and Aquaid subjects shall be withdrawn from these schools. However, Arabic language subject shall continue to be part of syllabus…”
As far as Sanskrit tolls are concerned, the Cabinet has decided that the 97 provincialised tolls will be converted to “Study Centres, research Centres and Institutions to study the Certificate/ Diploma/ Degree courses to be started by Kumar Bhaskar Varma Sanskrit and Ancient Studies University, Nalbari with effect from 1/4/2022”.
“There will not be any fresh admission in the provincialised Sanskrit tolls from 1/4/2021. Students have to take admission in high schools,” the note said.
“We are basically going to run courses on Indian civilisation [in the Sanskrit tolls]…It will be different from history. The curriculum will be prepared from a civilisational point of view,” Sarma said.