ON Thursday,Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh launched the Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madarsa (SPQEM) through the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) by distributing free study material to students of madrasas and maktabs. The objective of the scheme is to encourage these traditional institutions by giving financial assistance to introduce science,mathematics,social studies,Hindi and English in their curriculum. However,the process of modernisation will be voluntary,the ministry said.
Maktabs/ madrasas/ Dar-ul-Ulooms can opt to become accredited study centres with the NIOS for primary and middle-levels of education or/and for secondary and senior secondary-levels under the scheme. The scheme will seek to provide opportunities for vocational training for children about 14 years of age who are studying in such institutions to enhance their opportunities for entering the job market and encourage entrepreneurship.
The scheme envisages strengthening of State Madarsa Board by enabling them to monitor the modernisation programme and enhance awareness about education among the Muslim community.
Financial assistance will be given for appointment of teachers and for conducting in-service teacher training programmes,strengthening the libraries/ book banks,purchase of science kits and other essential equipment and for establishment of science/ computer labs at the secondary/ senior secondary levels. The Central Government will provide 100 per cent funding for the scheme during the 11th plan.
However,the scheme will cover only those madrasas that have been in existence for at least three years and are registered under the Central or State Government Acts or Madarsa Board or with Wakf Boards or the NIOS. They will also need to be accredited by the NIOS.