December 4, 2016 2:16:37 am
Assam Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has objected to madrasas remaining closed on Fridays instead of Sundays, even threatening action against their headmasters. A Friday off could be okay in Pakistan or Bangladesh, he said. Talukdar, who heads a madrasa near Guwahati, responds
1. Why do you have your weekly off on a Friday?
This has been the practice since the British days. Assam has continued the tradition, and every year the Directorate of Madrasa Education issues an academic calendar showing Friday as a holiday.
2. What do you think about Sarma’s statement?
We are government employees and have to follow decisions of the government. But the fact is there will be a lot of problems. It has hurt our religious sentiments. West Bengal, Bihar and UP too have Friday holiday for government madrasas.
3. What would be the problems if the weekly holiday was Sunday?
A tradition would get disturbed. Our students, who go to namaz on Friday, will lose valuable two hours study time.
4. What would be your suggestion to Sarma?
So many other issues require immediate government attention. Teacher shortage is the biggest problem. Take my school. We used to have 20 teachers but as the older ones have retired, we are now left with only six for over 450 students.
5. What about the private madrasas?
Yes, the government should make a survey of those madrasas over which it has no control. While we also teach subjects such as Science, Mathematics, English, students who attend the Qaumi or Khariji madrasas are deprived of such learning. This is already creating a huge divide.
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