Guwahati: The Assam government will convert all state-run madrasas and Sanskrit tols (schools) into general institutes in an attempt to make education “secular”, state Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said Monday.
Addressing a press meet in Guwahati, Sarma said that a bill would soon be tabled during the upcoming winter session of the assembly to implement the cabinet decision taken Sunday.
“All High madrasas would now be secular after the word ‘Madrasa’ is removed. They would now be known as High School, not High Madrasa. There would be no distinction anymore. So far, they were providing 90 per cent general education and 10 per cent religious teaching. Now, the religious subject of 50 marks on Quran would be dropped,” said Sarma, adding that from 2022, no High Madrasa exam would be conducted in Assam.
There are 198 High Madrasa schools under the Secondary Education Board Assam (SEBA), and another 542 such institutions under the Assam Higher Secondary Education Council (AHSEC), including four Arabic colleges, 138 senior madrasas and 230 pre-senior madrasas.
These academic institutions for elementary education and higher learning have been functioning under the State Madrassa Board, considered the oldest board of madrasa education in India.
Sarma announced that according to the cabinet decision, the State Madrassa Board would be dissolved, and the academic and administrative authorities under this board would be renamed as ‘Director Secondary Education’.
Arabic colleges to be transformed into higher secondary schools
Theological courses would no longer be taught in madrasas from April next year, and the teachers, who were imparting lessons on religious sciences such as ‘Fiqh/Aqaid’ (Sacred Law) would be now trained to teach general subjects.
Fiqh is part of Islamic law, which contains the provisions and laws to guide practical issues on how to worship God (Allah), and honour daily human relationships in family and public life.
Sarma said that the Arabic colleges would now be transformed into higher secondary schools and the Arabic councils would be brought under the AHSEC.
The pre-senior and senior madrasas would also be converted into general institutes under the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT).
“To implement these decisions, we will have to bring about a legislation (this) month end in the state assembly to repeal the one under which madrasas were provincialised. The rest of the work can be done by amending rules and issuing notifications,” said Sarma.
The minister further announced that Sanskrit tols would be handed over to the Kumar Bhaskar Varma Sanskrit and Ancient Studies University, and would be converted to academic institutes imparting degree and diploma courses on India’s history and ancient culture.