Bangladesh has taken steps to modernize its madrasa education while implementing the first education policy of the time it was formulated at the end of 2010, for the purpose of solving the problems of madrassa education that had been accused of pushing the students towards Islamic militancy.
A student reading a Quran in a madrasa in Dhaka. The Bangladesh government is trying to reorganize the madrasa education system, it wants to make it more modern. [Reuters]
In February, the education ministry made English and Bangla mandatory by revising the syllabus of madrasa in order to bring the same to normal school education.
Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid told Khabar South Asia, “Presently, in the course of the sixth grade to the tenth grade, there is a fixed number of 100 for Bengali and English. We have decided to double it from next year. ”
10 percent of the total students of Bangladesh currently study in madrasas. They are usually from very poor and very religious families. In addition to general curriculum in madrasa education, Islamic religious education is given.
According to the Madrasa Education Board, there are currently 5671 Alia Madrasa in the country. The new syllabus is expected to have a special effect among 275,000 students of these madrassas.
Even then, it will be very difficult for the government’s education authorities to reach near the students of Qaumi Madrassas outside the government’s revenues.
Wahhabi ideology was followed in the Kaomi Madrasahs. They do not teach English and Bengali, as opposed to women education. The government does not have the exact accounts of how many Qawmi Madrasas are in the country, but according to some officials, there are 35,000 Qawmi madrassas in the country.
Certificates of Alia Madrasa are recognized by the government. The students passed from here can be admitted to any government university or even government jobs. There are five Qaumi Madrasa Boards in the country, they are operating by different groups of Maulana or religious scholars. The government does not recognize the certificates of the Qawmi Madrasa Board.
According to the educationists of the country, madrasa education – whether it is in general madrasas or kawami madrasas, Arabic and Persian education is given more importance than English or Bengal. Many hardliners consider English and Bengali as ‘un-Islamic’.
Nahid said, “This syllabus will be uniformly evaluated everywhere as a result of the common education and identification of English medium education. But now they are facing many obstacles in the field of improved education. ”
Rashed Khan Menon, president of parliamentary standing committee on education ministry, told Khabar, “The founders of the Qawmi Madrasahs do not follow the rules of the government. And that is why they can use the students of these madrasas for their own benefit “.
The government has invited Qawmiya madrassas to work on modernization of their education system. But the madrassa leaders instead of protesting against this new policy of the government.
Nahid said, “We have invited them. But they did not show any interest “.
Ataur Rahman Khan, the madrasa board registrar told Khabar, the new syllabus for modernization will bring a new quality change to the quality of madrasa education.
He said, “thirty years ago religious misinterpretation was that English education was against Islam. Even my talented sister did not accept English lessons. But now Madrasah students are studying English and science at a limited level. This teaching is helping them to think logically.
Mohammad Mostafa, the Principal of Haji Moran Ali Islamia Aliya Madrasa in Nakhalpara area of Dhaka, told Khabar that the students of his organization are more concerned about the real education than the madness in the name of religion.
Mustafa said, “We are ready to accept the modern syllabus that the government has proposed.”
The students of this madrasa also agree with this.
Maqbool Hossain, a fourth-grade student of the Morning Ali Madrasa, told Khabar, “I want to grow up and become an engineer”. Like many of his classmates, Maqbool also came from a poor family. His family sent him to study in this madrasa, because it has the opportunity to have a full free education.
Rafiqul Islam, a ninth grade student of Khabar, told Khabar, “I want to be an English news reader on TV learning more English here.”
Maulana Mujibur Rahman, a teacher of South Muradia Mahila Madrasa of Patuakhali, district of the country. He told Khabar that the proposed new education policy will give additional opportunity to the students of the madrasa passing the workplace. Through this, the disparity in the education of Madrasah education with general education will also be reduced.