The Assam government has decided to drop the Arabic word “Maktab” from the names of 63 schools across the state. The development comes after Sarma’s earlier announcement where he said that all government-funded madrasas and Sanskrit tols (schools) will be shut, and converted into “normal” high schools.
“63 such schools have come to our notice — there might be more but we have given a general order to drop the word since no religious education is imparted in these schools,” said Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma at a press conference on Saturday, adding that the name of the school will, otherwise, remain as is.
According to Sarma, students who attend “maktab” schools later face difficulties during high school admission processes.
“When they seek admission to high schools, it is questioned because so far, they have received education in religious schools. So they face a lot of trouble,” Sarma told reporters, adding that the decision on the madrasas will be implemented post the tabling of the state budget in March.
The minister also announced a fund of Rs 710 crore for the ‘Assam Darshan’ scheme to aid the development of religious places in the state. He confirmed that 915 religious institutions (including 459 temples, 186 ‘satras’ or Vaishnavite monastic orders, 123 namghars or worship halls, 47 mosques, and 27 churches) would receive Rs 10 lakh for development.
He said a sum of Rs 615 crore would be spent on building roads to these religious spots.
The Assam government has also identified 316 picnic spots which would be developed for tourism purposes.
Sarma also told the reporters that a high-level committee appointed for the implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord would submit its report to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal in the presence of the Cabinet on February 25.
“This instruction was given to us when the Home Minister came to Assam on February 20. We had not discussed this earlier since he was coming to Assam anyway,” he said, dismissing reports that the submission was “delayed”.
Clause 6 of the 1985 Assam Accord states that “Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people”.
The report has been kept in a sealed cover at the Implementation of the Assam Accord Department of the state government in Dispur.
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