February 7, 2017 4:36:43 am
After much deliberations, the Islamic Research Foundation (IRF)-owned school in Mazgaon may be handed over to a trust owned by Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi. The state education department has already approved a proposal for the transfer of the school management from its founder Zakir Naik to Azmi’s Niyaz Ahmed Minority Educational and Welfare Trust. The school, its management, curriculum and workings are being scrutinised by legal experts before the official transfer can be formalised. “We just want to ensure there are no risks involved and I have appointed a solicitor to look into it. Once that is done, our trust will run the school,” Azmi said.
According to Azmi, the curriculum of Islamic International School (IIS) will remain unchanged. IIS is affiliated with IGCSE and teaches Quranic texts, Arabic along with academic subjects to its students. It currently has 220 children and over 100 staffers and teachers.
The school faced uncertainty when the Union Cabinet banned the IRF for five years in November last year and the bank accounts of the school along with that of IRF and Harmony Media were frozen. IIS was founded by controversial preacher Zakir Naik and runs classes from the first standard to the 10th.
It was funded by IRF’s education trust. Since last November, the routine expenditure is being taken care of by principal Imran Qureshi.
Fearing a shutdown, the school administration had petitioned with the state education department to allow its academic activities to continue claiming that the school is run by a trust separate from the now banned IRF. While the education department had approached various minority trusts to take over the school, none had shown interest until Azmi stepped in.
“The decision to transfer the school has been taken keeping in mind the academic year of children. We feared a shutdown. To prevent that, if another trust runs the administration, children will not lose out on an entire year. Their exams were ongoing when the ban was announced,” the spokesperson for IRF said.
According to principal Qureshi, the routine expenses of stationary, bills and other administrative expenditures are being handled by him until either he gets access to bank accounts or another trust starts funding the school.
“We are happy with the state government’s decision to transfer the school to another trust. Our concern was that the course should not change and my son’s education must not get affected,” said Mouzam Armar, father of Humaid Armar who studies in eighth class at the school. Several parents too had approached the education department to plead that the school must not shut down along with IRF offices.
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